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Space Shuttle Program End Mean Loss Of Space Coast Jobs

CAPE CANAVERAL (CBS4) – When NASA wraps up its 30 year space shuttle program this month with the final launch of Atlantis, some 7,000 jobs in the communities surrounding the Space Coast will also come to an end.

The highly skilled space workers will have to compete in a labor market where more than one in 10 in America is unemployed. And because the area is still reeling from the housing crisis, it'll be tougher for them to sell their homes to relocate.

Surrounding communities already are feeling the pain.

Donna Thrash, who runs a jobs workshop for space workers in Brevard County, said, "People are not working. They're economizing."

Hotels and restaurants that have hosted NASA tourists fear harder times after this month.

Raymond Steele lost his engineering job with NASA's scrapped moon program, and then his marriage collapsed. But the 57-year-old notes that other workers, wives, children and businesses have the same worries.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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