WASHINGTON — Boeing Space Exploration of Houston completed a reorganization in October that merged its space shuttle and space station engineering teams, company spokesman Edmund Memi said Nov. 29.

The realignment, initiated in April with NASA’s blessing, will enable Boeing to better manage the work flow on both programs by readily shifting engineers to where they are needed the most, Memi said in a written response to questions. It also will enable the division to more effectively utilize resources from other parts of the company, he said.

Stephen Oswald, vice president and program manager for space shuttle at Boeing Space Exploration, said during a Nov. 8 briefing on the upcoming space station assembly mission that the realignent will help the company retain critical skills as the space shuttle program moves toward retirement.

Oswald noted that attrition has increased slightly, from roughly 3-4 percent to about 5-6 percent, in Boeing’s space shuttle engineering work force in the months since the company came out on the losing end of the competition to build NASA’s next human spaceflight system.

Oswald said he did not know the reason for the higher attrition rate. Company officials also are unsure as to whether the increased departure rate among shuttle engineers is a one-time phenomenon or a long-term trend.

The space shuttle is slated to be retired in 2010.

Memi said Boeing will compete for other NASA exploration projects that will be ramping up as the space shuttle and space station programs wind down. He said the near-term opportunities include the upper stage and avionics package for NASA’s Ares 1 rocket, which will launch the agency’s new crew-carrying capsule starting in 2014.