Layoffs Hit Bigelow Aerospace – SpaceNews

WASHINGTON — Bigelow Aerospace, an organization growing industrial area station modules, has laid off an unspecified variety of workers because it seeks to transition from analysis and improvement to industrial operations.

In a Jan. 6 assertion supplied to table4, Bigelow Aerospace President Robert Bigelow stated that the corporate decided that many areas of the corporate have been “overstaffed” and determined to put off workers to cut back the corporate’s bills.

“In December of 2015, we analyzed the quantity of workers that we employed all through all of our departments at Bigelow Aerospace, and found that quite a few departments have been overstaffed,” Bigelow stated within the assertion. “Regrettably, we needed to make the selection that, starting with the New 12 months, we have to comply with customary enterprise protocols, which sensibly requires an try to attain steadiness in how a lot workers is important.”

The corporate didn’t disclose how many individuals have been laid off. Business sources estimated that between 30 and 50 individuals misplaced their jobs, and that the corporate had greater than 150 workers on the time of the layoffs.

The layoffs come after a hiring spree for the corporate. For a lot of 2015, Bigelow Aerospace marketed that it was searching for to fill greater than 100 positions, each at its North Las Vegas, Nevada, headquarters and a brand new propulsion division the corporate opened within the fall in Huntsville, Alabama.

As just lately as December, the corporate’s web site listed greater than 30 open positions. As of Jan. 7, the web site listed solely 4 open positions, together with chief operations officer.

Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow in 2013. Credit score: NASA/Invoice Ingalls

Bigelow, within the assertion, stated he determined to make the layoffs as a part of an organization transition. “For sixteen years, Bigelow Aerospace has functioned practically completely as a analysis and improvement firm,” he stated. “Beginning in 2016, our intent is to behave in additional of a financially accountable method searching for to generate revenues in addition to sustaining monetary practicality on working bills.”

Bigelow Aerospace is thought for growing inflatable modules that launch in a compact kind and develop to their full quantity as soon as in area. The corporate efficiently demonstrated the know-how on two missions, Genesis 1 and a pair of, launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

The corporate has additionally constructed, below a $17.8 million NASA contract introduced in 2013, a prototype module referred to as the Bigelow Expandable Exercise Module (BEAM) that can be put in on the Worldwide Area Station. Bigelow accomplished work on BEAM final 12 months, and the module will launch to the ISS on the following SpaceX cargo mission there, tentatively scheduled for February.

Testing of BEAM and different firm work, together with a NASA research contract awarded in 2015 to look at the usage of Bigelow modules as deep area habitats, received’t be affected by the layoffs. “These layoffs won’t compromise in any means our potential to execute the work and actions that we presently have ongoing,” Bigelow stated within the assertion.

The layoffs aren’t the primary time Bigelow Aerospace has lower workers. In September 2011, the corporate laid off 40 of its 90 workers. The corporate cited delays within the improvement of business crew transportation automobiles wanted to entry its proposed area stations.

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