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Fiscal Cliff Could Put 20,000 NASA Jobs at Risk

(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- The “fiscal cliff” might be a “fiscal black hole” for the aerospace industry.

NASA could face an 8.2 percent budget cut, resulting in the loss of over 20,000 jobs, if the government’s sequestration plan takes effect in 2013, according to a report from the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).

Since the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 forbids cutting the civil service work force through the end of 2013, the AIA says the cuts would all come from the private sector.

If the cuts take effect, the hardest-hit site would be the Johnson Space Center in Texas, which would lay off 5,610 workers.  California and Colorado aerospace centers would be forced to cut 4,586 and 2,121 jobs, respectively.

“The loss of these jobs would be significant,” the report says.  “To a large extent, these are the scientists, engineers and technicians that design, manufacture and operate our nation’s spacecraft and launch systems.”  

The AIA went on to say that the cutbacks could dissuade bright young Americans from pursuing advanced science courses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio