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End of Missile Defense Project Cuts USU Jobs

End of Missile Defense Project Cuts USU Jobs

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Cancellation of a joint U.S.-Russian missile defense project will cost about 25 workers their jobs at the Utah State University Research Foundation.

The Space Dynamics Laboratory will have most of the layoffs.

The Russian-American Observation Satellite program brought in $26 million last year and its termination by Congress cuts the laboratory's budget by about one-third.

RAMOS was intended to use satellites to detect the launch of a missile attack. Growing out of former President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative -- dubbed Star Wars -- the plans called for two satellites to be deployed. Both of the satellites were to be built by the Russians and fitted with U.S. sensors. The Space Dynamics Lab was the prime contractor for the sensors.

Dave Norton, president of the Research Foundation, and lab director Michael Pavich told laboratory employees about the shutdown during a general meeting on Friday.

About 400 people work for the foundation, including the laboratory unit. The foundation is financially separate from USU and its employees are not USU employees.

In addition to the approximately 25 workers who will be laid off over the next two weeks, others are expected to retire.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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