ATK supporters cry foul over space drift

OGDEN, Utah (AP) – Current and laid-off workers and promoters of ATK Space Systems say they are discouraged by an apparent drift in U.S. plans for space travel. Clearfield-based ATK Space Systems has laid off 970 workers in Utah since October, citing an uncertain future with the phase-out of the space shuttle and the Minuteman III ballistic missile programs. Former Air Force inspector Jay Newman says the U.S. could end up hitching rides to the International Space Station on Chinese or Russian capsules. In 1977, Newman inspected the first ATK rockets that were used to propel the space shuttle. NASA was working to replace the space shuttle with a new ATK launcher and a Lockheed capsule for travel to the moon and beyond, but President Barack Obama has proposed scrapping that idea for something different, possibly subsidies for private rockets.

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