2001: LOCAL INDUSTRY NATIONAL ROLLER COASTER AEROSPACE JOBS RIDE UPS, DOWNS WITH NASA, PENTAGON.
Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Staff Writer
PALMDALE - The Antelope Valley This article is about the Los Angeles County region. For the census-designated place in Wyoming, see Antelope Valley-Crestview, Wyoming.
The Antelope Valley provided new evidence this year for the truism that aerospace is a boom-and-bust industry.
NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. canceled Lockheed Martin's $1.2 billion X-33 rocket plane rocket plane
1. An aircraft powered by one or more rocket engines.
2. An aircraft designed to carry and launch rockets. . But seven months later, the company won a Pentagon contract to develop the joint strike fighter.
SR Technics tech·nic
1. technics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The theory, principles, or study of an art or a process.
2. technics (used with a pl. verb) Technical details, rules, or methods.
3. dedicated its Palmdale jetliner modification plant in March, then laid off 15 percent of its work force in November.
``It's an up-and-down business,'' said David Myers, executive director of the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance.
The Antelope Valley's economy and population have diversified over the past dozen years, so aerospace doesn't possess the all-pervasive role it had in the 1980s.
But its impact is still major: An estimated 30,000 Antelope Valley residents work in aerospace, with more than 20,000 working at Edwards Air Force Base Edwards Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 301,000 acres (121,805 hectares), S Calif., NE of Lancaster; est. 1933. It is one of the largest air force bases in the United States and has the world's longest runway. , Air Force Plant 42, Mojave Airport or elsewhere locally, and the rest commuting outside the valley.
That 30,000 estimate means almost 30 percent of the valley's workers hold aerospace industry jobs. On the other hand, estimates are that nearly twice that many commute to the Greater Los Angeles Area The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is the agglomeration of urbanized area around the city of Los Angeles, California, United States. There are two "official" definitions—the Los Angeles metropolitan area consisting only of the Los Angeles and Orange .
Local aerospace employers added about 1,000 jobs over the past year, Myers said, and despite the uncertainty after the Sept. 11 attacks he expects them to add an additional 1,000 or 2,000 next year.
``What we're seeing is the commercial side is struggling and the military side is growing,'' Myers said. ``It's not that there's any difference in the trend. It's just been an interesting year as it relates to the peaks and valleys of aerospace.''
The year started with Swiss-owned SR Technics hiring 20 new workers every two weeks at the Palmdale plant it opened in 2000. Big enough to hold 10 aircraft and as many as 7,000 workers, officials said the plant gave the company an advantage in getting American Airlines' business in overhauling and modifying jetliners.
In March, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), civilian agency of the U.S. federal government with the mission of conducting research and developing operational programs in the areas of space exploration, artificial satellites (see satellite, artificial), announced it was shutting down work on Lockheed Martin's X-33 rocket plane, beset by a knotty knot·ty
adj. knot·ti·er, knot·ti·est
1. Tied or snarled in knots.
2. Covered with knots or knobs; gnarled.
3. Difficult to understand or solve. See Synonyms at complex. technical problem and a bill of at least $400 million to fix it. The X-33 work stalled when a hydrogen fuel tank broke during testing in November 1999. In October, Lockheed Martin found out it had come out ahead in a five-year competition and beat Boeing for the contract to develop the joint strike fighter, a stealthy stealth·y
adj. stealth·i·er, stealth·i·est
Marked by or acting with quiet, caution, and secrecy intended to avoid notice. See Synonyms at secret. replacement for several military jets.
The fighter, if it goes into production, will be assembled in Texas, but parts work is expected to come to Palmdale. JSF (JavaServerFaces) A standard framework of components for building rich user interfaces for Java applications. JavaServer Faces run on the server, but are displayed on the client.
JSF - JavaServer Faces partner Northrop Grumman also is expected to do parts work in Southern California.
Edwards is putting together a flight-test unit to test the development models of the new plane, to be called the F-35.
A week later, SR Technics announced that it was eliminating 75 of its more than 500 Palmdale jobs, citing the general slump in the air transportation industry after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the financial woes of its Swiss parent company.
The layoffs are the result of a complicated situation regarding the efforts to keep Swissair, the flagship company of SAirGroup, in operation. Swissair was suffering from a failed expansion strategy even before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Analysts expect SR Technics and other SAirGroup subsidiaries will be bought by another company and kept in operation.
The Antelope Valley may get hit with more bad news soon about space shuttle jobs.
Local leaders are trying to persuade NASA to continue to overhaul and modify the space shuttle fleet in Palmdale.
NASA shuttle program officials want the work to go to Kennedy Space Center Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) U.S.
launch site for manned space missions. [U.S. Hist.: WB, So:562]
See : Astronautics in Florida, claiming there will be a significant cost savings.
It is not clear as to when a decision will be made on the modification work. NASA is the middle of a management change, and the space agency is continuing to grapple with to enter into contest with, resolutely and courageously.
See also: Grapple how to proceed with the development of the International Space Station, which is $4.8 billion over budget.
The Pentagon chose Lockheed Martin Corp. to build its high-tech, next- generation joint strike fighter jet. If it goes into production, parts work is expected to come to Palmdale. JSF partner Northrop Grumman also is expected to do parts work in Southern California.