Rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc. will be moved out of its Canoga Park facility by March 31, a company representative said Thursday.

Employees have been gradually relocating since 2003 from the storied production plant at Canoga Avenue and Victory Boulevard to a location on DeSoto Avenue in Chatsworth. Operations stopped in Canoga Park on Jan. 31, said Andy Sellin, project manager for the Canoga facility closure.

“At this point we are doing a final cleanup,” Sellin said. “We have a lot of desks, chairs, furniture, and machines that are being removed.”

For more than 50 years, the massive manufacturing building on 47 acres has played a central role to the U.S. space program. Workers there designed and built the engines used on the Saturn V rocket in the Apollo program, and then the main engines used on the Space Shuttle.

Sellin, who has worked for Rocketdyne for 25 years, said it was a sad moment to see the Canoga facility close.

“I remember my early days of walking up and down the aisles and seeing machines turning metal and producing parts for the space shuttle,” Sellin said.

Rocketdyne has had many owners over the years, with the latest GenCorp. of Sacramento, which acquired the company last year and merged it into its AeroJet-General Corp. subsidiary, also headquartered in Sacramento. The new company was renamed AeroJet Rocketdyne Inc.

Former owner United Technologies, however, held onto the property with plans to develop it with a hotel, multifamily housing, offices and retail. The Hartford, Conn. manufacturer hired Boston Global Investors to work on the development.