Orion Program Spared, But Lockheed Job Cuts May Still Loom

April 14 2010, 10:15 AM

After much clamor by Colorado's congressional delegation---Democrats and Republicans alike---it appears the Obama administration is set to nix a controversial proposal to cut a space exploration program that would have cost jobs in Colorado. The Denver Post, citing unnamed "administration sources," reports that later this week Obama will announce that Orion, the crew-capsule portion of the Constellation space shuttle replacement program, will not be scrapped but instead scaled down as an emergency escape vehicle in the International Space Station. Lockheed Martin Space Systems' south Jefferson County outpost is the primary contractor on Orion, and an estimated 4,000 people are directly and indirectly employed because of the program. Still, it's unclear how many jobs would be salvaged if the program is altered the way the Post's sources indicate. For now, lawmakers are certain to be celebrating. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet joined together earlier this week to write a letter urging the president to find a way to keep the program.