Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the Canoga Park, Calif., rocket propulsion company being acquired by Aerojet, laid off 100 workers Nov. 7.
“Today, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne announced workforce reductions of approximately 100 salaried and hourly positions, effective immediately,” company spokeswoman Carri Karuhn said in a written statement. “The uncertain future of the space industry and current economic conditions have created an environment where we must take these steps to ensure we remain competitive.”
Most of the layoffs were in California, as first reported by the Los Angeles Daily News Nov. 7. The job cuts were expected. In April, a month after United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Hartford, Conn., announced it would sell its rocket propulsion business, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne President Jim Maser said the company planned to halve its U.S. factory floor space to less than 90,000 square meters from 189,000 square meters by the end of 2013.
Most of the reductions, Maser said, would take place in California, where the company maintains extensive testing and manufacturing facilities.
UTC acquired Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne from Boeing Co. in 2005. In July, GenCorp Inc. of Rancho Cordova, Calif., the parent company Aerojet, announced it would buy Rocketdyne for $550 million.
Assuming the sale gets federal regulatory approval — Rocketdyne and Aerojet are the country’s largest liquid propulsion firms — it would close in the first half of 2013, GenCorp says.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has seven U.S. facilities, the largest of which are in California. The company also has manufacturing space near West Palm Beach, Fla.