Lost in Space: Jobs

A scramble for work as the shuttle exits

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The space shuttle has always been a hybrid machine: part plane, part rocket, part cash register. Shuttles hauled around a lot of jobs along with their astronauts, jobs for everyone from engineers to bellhops. With the last shuttle's planned landing on July 20, workers will decamp from space centers and factories all over the country. Houston needs fewer flight controllers; Cape Canaveral needs fewer pad technicians; factories that built shuttle parts have shut their lines. But the $3 billion per year that NASA spent on the shuttle will be reallocated to other agency programs. Jobs will be displaced but not necessarily lost--a fact that won't ease the pain of communities that bear the brunt of the shutdown.