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Report: Rocketplane begins staff layoffs



The troubles with Oklahoma's space tourism and transportation company continue to mount.


The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Rocketplane Kistler began laying off several employees, and has sent word to some subcontractors helping Rocketplane Kistler with its NASA project to halt work.


Company chief executive officer George French told the paper that layoffs were occurring, but said, "We still have staff working on the program (and) some subcontractors are still working."



Rocketplane Kistler was awarded a $207 million contract with NASA a year ago to build a cargo rocket ship to provide transportation of supplies and other materials to the International Space Station. The agreement was based on a public-private partnership with the company supplying its own financing and NASA making payments as the private funds came in.


But within a few months of the agreement, Rocketplane Kistler began have difficulties coming up with the private funds. It has missed at least three funding deadlines with NASA, causing the space agency to rethink its partnership with the Oklahoma company.


The article also reported Rocketplane officials tried to work an agreement with a Canadian pension fund for helping to finance the project, but talks broke down on concerns foreign involvement could make the company ineligible for NASA contracts. -Scott Cooper



More Rocketplane coverage:

Ex-Rocketplane chief engineer says funding diverted from tourism vehicle
Rocketplane lays off manager, seeks $500 million
Rocketplane responds
Texas rocket leaves Oklahoma soil, returns 
Rocketplane beat to launch by Texas company 
Another rocket company ready to do business with state


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