PROMONTORY -- ATK Space Systems said Thursday it is laying off another 150 people because of the continuing cutbacks in its programs servicing NASA and other government contractors.
ATK spokeswoman Trina Helquist said 140 of those laid off are from Utah, including 90 who volunteered to be laid off. Helquist said the layoffs are across ATK's entire corporate structure, including its facilities in Utah, Mississippi and Ohio.
In a prepared statement ATK said, "These reductions are a result of cutbacks in funding on multiple programs, ongoing consolidation and reorganization, and changes in the business climate and production rates at manufacturing facilities.
"Although this layoff is smaller than those we have conducted in the past, reductions are never easy; we have lost some very talented individuals. For those individuals who are laid off, we have offered severance benefits and outplacement services."
In the release the company said, "We took actions to minimize the impact to our workforce through a volunteer program and redeploying as many employees as possible while retaining the critical skills necessary to meet our obligations to our customers and to perform on our contracted programs.
"Our Utah delegation continues to be instrumental in ensuring the United States retains its human space exploration program and continues to support NASA's heavy lift vehicle, the Space Launch System, and our strategic programs within the Department of Defense."
ATK Space Systems in Utah has been hit hard since 2009 because of the demise of the space shuttle program. ATK in Utah was the prime contractor for booster motors to launch the space shuttle, and by early 2012 had laid off more than 2,100 employees, nearly half its shuttle-era workforce of 4,500.
ATK was dealt another setback late in 2012 when the company was bypassed for part of $1.2 billion NASA was awarding to develop new vehicles for future manned space operations. The money all went to ATK competitors for the program.
Ironically, ATK also announced Thursday that it has successfully built and tested a smaller version of its shuttle booster motors.
On Wednesday ATK successfully ground-tested its new CASTOR(r) 30XL upper stage solid rocket motor at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) in Tennessee.
ATK said it developed the motor in 20 months. It is designed to ignite above 100,000 feet and will be used on rockets designed to resupply the International Space Station.