WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. will trim its work force by about 800 employees, or 4.5 percent, by year’s end in a move intended to improve its overall competitiveness, the company announced Aug. 17.

The layoffs will affect technical, managerial and administrative positions, primarily at company facilities in Denver and Sunnyvale, Calif., Lockheed Martin said in a press release. Lockheed Martin said it will offer a voluntary layoff plan to reduce the number of forced layoffs.

Lockheed Martin spokesman Steve Tatum said the job cuts are not tied to any specific program but rather a “forward-looking action to right size the work force to better match our current and future projected business.”

The reduction is separate from job cuts in Lockheed Martin’s Michoud Operations division near New Orleans that the company said are related to the planned close-out of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2010. Lockheed Martin builds the space shuttle’s giant external fuel tanks at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility. Jobs at that plant are being cut in phases as external tank production winds down; 107 Lockheed Martin positions were eliminated in May.

Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...