Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will lay off 150 employees at its San Fernando Valley facilities largely due to the Space Shuttle program ending this summer.

The firm makes the rocket engines for the shuttle, which will have its last mission on July 8.

“The uncertain future of the space industry, current economic conditions and significant budget challenges facing the U.S. government have created an environment where we must take difficult steps to ensure our cost structure is competitive during these challenging times,” the company said in a statement.

The company will provide employees losing their jobs with career services and counseling as well as a severance and benefits package.

Pratt & Whitney has cut about 400 jobs over the past 18 months at its facilities in Canoga Park and Chatsworth.

As the company reduces the amount of spacecraft engine work, it is developing alternative energy, electronics and propellant technology.

Mark R. Madler