Orbital Sciences

www.orbital.com

Orbital Sciences Reviews

Updated August 9, 2014
Updated August 9, 2014
147 Reviews
3.4
147 Reviews
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Orbital Sciences Chairman and CEO David W. Thompson
David W. Thompson
95 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Challenging and interesting work in a high tech environment (in 10 reviews)

  • Flexible work hours and good benefits (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • It can sometimes be hard to maintain healthy work/life balance, it just depends on the number of active contracts (feast or famine) (in 9 reviews)

  • Demanding company, long hours with no recognition (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

15 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not a great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous
    Former Employee - Anonymous

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The benefits weren't bad and for me the commute was pretty easy. Launches were a big deal which was pretty cool.

    Cons

    Management and supervisors who did not have the skills or experience to be in those positions. Cliques - I felt like I was back in high school. Rather than use my work experience and skills to the company's advantage I was given busy work that literally bored me to tears. I stayed there less than one year and couldn't have been happier to leave. I was at least the 3rd person in my position in the last several years and management viewed the turnover as the fault of the former employee (and was vocal about those faults) rather than considering that there may be internal problems that need to be addressed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't promote willy-nilly. If a department is experiencing high turn over consider that there could be reasons other than the employees being hired are incompetant and do something about it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Management lied to get me in the door, then ignored my skills and expertise and treated me poorly.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer, Telemetry Systems, NASA Sounding Rocket Program in Wallops Island, VA
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer, Telemetry Systems, NASA Sounding Rocket Program in Wallops Island, VA

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - You are a rocket scientist. No really, you are an actual rocket scientist. You work on rockets. Things you touch and work with every day eventually get sent to visit space.
    - Some of the travel you do can be enjoyable. I only visited White Sands, NM (twice, for a month each time), but Las Cruces (where you stay when at White Sands) is a great town with lots of activities, good food, and friendly people.
    - My comments apply only to my experience as an Electrical Engineer on the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract II, not to other Orbital programs or activities. I have no direct experience with other parts of the company and will not comment on those.

    Cons

    - No training budget. Almost no training given to new engineers; you must learn things on the job. That would be acceptable if more senior employees were willing and able to be good mentors, but they are remarkably unwilling to help. No system or process is properly documented in the way that an engineer coming from elsewhere in industry would understand it. The way to learn about so much of what happens is to ask colleagues. Unfortunately you will get different answers depending on who you ask. Maybe you've asked the right person -- hooray, what you're trying to do works! -- or maybe you've asked the wrong person -- but they THOUGHT they understood something -- now you're in some trouble.

    - Antiquated technology. The electrical engineering department is struggling to switch over from its previous real-time telemetry data viewing software (using DOS! That's right, DOS! Straight from the 80s) and this switchover is still not complete as of early May 2013. Most of the telemetry hardware is 20 years old and no one else uses it. It was good hardware for its day (early 1990s), but modern systems make this old stuff seem horribly difficult to configure and change. Things that can be accomplished in 5 minutes on modern systems with a simple re-programming take a complete dis assembly and jumper re-set on this old hardware. If you stay and become an expert on this stuff: congratulations! You now possess a body of obscure engineering knowledge that actually makes you LESS employable in the future.

    - Salaries below the rest of industry. EEs fresh out of school make in the low 50s. EE plus an MS might get you in the low 60s. Anemic salary growth and little potential for career development.

    - Poor work environment. Micromanagement and management by intimidation is the norm. Management expects engineers to work 15 to 20 hours of unpaid overtime each week just for the CHANCE to be considered for promotion.

    - Managers do not understand that their time is different than yours. To a manager, an extra half-hour in the day means another few phone calls they can make, or a quick meeting they can have. For a design engineer, a half-hour is just enough time to get back into the proper frame of mind to design something -- but not enough time to actually get significant work done. One day I counted the number of times my boss interrupted me by coming to my desk: seventeen.

    - Have a new idea that could make things better? Prepare for your coworkers to do their absolute best to destroy that idea before it ever has a chance of becoming reality.

    - Long and frequent periods of travel. Once you become fully trained up, you'll be assigned 4 to 6 missions at once, most requiring travel to remote ranges (White Sands NM, Poker Flats AK, Norway, Australia). Each trip is at least 4 weeks, and overseas travel is for longer periods. If you're a single person, this is great -- you get to visit cool places on the company dime and get some neat experiences. If you're a family oriented person, this is terrible. You WILL be gone multiple months a year as an Electrical Engineer on this contract.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Don't lie to employees about training opportunities, career development, and travel duration. You believe that people leave because they don't like the MD/VA Eastern Shore. Really, employees leave because they are tired of being treated like children.
    - Invest in technology. Seriously. You spend so much time checking out your systems because they are made with 1970s/1980s technology. If you would just invest a bit and get systems that are easier to set-up and maintain, you would save WEEKS of engineering effort on each mission.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    worked a lot of overtime and weekends at orbital sciencesI

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Orbital Sciences part-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Run don't walk away from orbital sciences

    Cons

    everything about the company is no good

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    suck on a exhaust pipe

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    EE

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dulles, VA

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    None, very bad place to work

    Cons

    Lots, nothing good about the place

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    very bad management

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Bait and Switch

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Ability to direct your own work

    Cons

    Lack of basic resources, lack of training, cannot tell the customer "no". The promises of training and mentorship that were made to me when I hired on were simply not true.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give engineers actual training and professional development opportunities!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Seek opportunities elsewhere or limit exposure period

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Principal Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Principal Engineer in Dulles, VA

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good people at the working level. Excellent benefits for younger employees. Suggest gaining a few years of corporate experience while taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement program. Move on to bigger and better things afterward.

    Cons

    Long hours. Little to no recognition for achievements. Limited opportunities for advancement. Company always trails its competition with technology advancements. Management (Director level and above) is too concerned about their share of the bonus pool, which results in political backstabbing, dishonesty, and poor corporate morale for the working level people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rather than RIF workers you should look at the management structure for efficiencies and cost savings. Suggest looking beyond Orbital and the failed companies Orbital has acquired for new management blood.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Chaotic and Disorganized Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chandler, AZ

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Fun stuff: rocket science, small company environment. Longevity to those who thrive in old fashioned badgering. On the other hand great talent is easily gone due to the clear lack of goal driven focus. That is a big tip off and a plus for those undecided to stay or not. They have no shame in seeing the all of the culture. Either go with it or leave.

    Cons

    Managers don't care about people. They clearly only care on their own personal agendas leaving the workers demoralized and tail chasing in constant churn. No process. Old school daily micromanagement without schedules, planning, or clear expectations. Chaos breeds sociopathic behavior and not quality products. Expect to be abused, humiliated, and a lot of drama by managers who can't decide on the the goals for the project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Modernize the approach to clear goals and expectations. Communicate schedules, actions, tasks, and focus on removing obstacles. The managers at Orbital are the obstacles. Chaos breeds sociopaths who thrive on demoralizing employees to finger point and blame high quality people. As a result the people are old and mediocre employees: young people avoid abusive dictators.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    New Employees are treated like outsiders

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The only pro for me is it's close to home

    Cons

    My manager pays little to no attention to the work I do. My performance is based on a co-workers opinion. It's a small group of people who have been together for a long time and there is most definitely a clique but I am an outsider. My bosses boss walks past my office every day and barely acknowledges my presence. I am rarely included in conversations. I've asked for more work because I'm bored so I was given administrative/busy work that no one else wants to do, even though I have nearly 20 years of work experience. There is no support, although my co-worker has said that she is always willing to help and answer any question. Maybe the group doesn't realize it but they have made me feel so unwelcome. It's really rather cruel.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There should be a clear division between managers and their subordinates. When a manager is close friends with one or two but the other is left out it creates bad feelings. I'm the third employee in this position in the last several years so there is obviously an issue, and it isn't necessarily with the employees who left, which is what I was told when I started working here. Upper management needs to take a good hard look at the dynamics in this group. I cannot afford to leave this job until I have another lined up but I am looking and will be out of here as soon as possible.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Really Negative Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Planner in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Senior Planner in Chandler, AZ

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Pay was decent and benefits are great. Unfortunately I cant say anything positive about the managers in the planning group, mostly they seem to spend their time making sure that all the government rules are followed, with little to no effort put in to actually improving processes.

    Cons

    Management approches every discussion with the attitude that they are going to prove you screwed something up. heir second job seems to be to shut down any ideas for improvement. talking to people that had been in the company for awhile it was clear that there is no career advancement opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try actually supporting positive change, you might find the whole department functions better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    A system integration and test company. A lot of politics inside. Always Ups and downs.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences

    Pros

    The compensation is above average. The job is relatively easy to handle. Flexiblility in work schedule.

    Cons

    Management doesn't know what's going on.

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