Orbital Sciences Reviews

Updated September 8, 2014
Updated September 8, 2014
138 Reviews
3.4
138 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Orbital Sciences Chairman and CEO David W. Thompson
David W. Thompson
88 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Interesting Work, High Tech Environment (in 9 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

37 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    A midsized aerospace company

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Orbital has traditionally compensated it's employees well. Technology is pretty good and campus life seems active.

    Cons

    Management structure too heavy for this size company limiting its ability to maneuver. Moves too slow to be effective in the market space.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ask, what is the value add to all the management layers?

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Challenging workforce

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

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

    Pros

    When I was offered a position with Orbital Sciences I eagerly accepted it with enthusiasm and motivation. I had followed Orbital as a company for several years and was excited to be granted the opportunity to work for them. Some of the pros of working for Orbital were that the benefits were good and it offered an acceptable work/ life balance. Overall Orbital instilled good company cultural, and the majority of the people/ departments I came in contact with acted with professionalism.

    Cons

    The biggest challenge I faced when employed with Orbital was in my own department. Within the first two months of employment it became abundantly clear that my core department was that of an environment of "Good ol' Boys". Despite the distressing atmosphere I made every effort to maintain professional composure while working to the best of my abilities. However, it is very telling when the HR department makes the statement to you, "They are either intimidated by you or they do not like women". Ultimately I left the company because it became obvious that those engaged in the cronyism was not going to change.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Take time to evaluate the undertones of your department. Listen with fairness to all of your direct reports, regardless of their level of position. These individuals are in the "environment" and can speak to the environmental makeup.
    2. Understand if the individual you have placed in authority has the leadership skills to fulfill the role.
    3. Show caution and be attuned to the "Good ol' Boys Networks". Such behavior can lead to biasness and potentially cause a department/ company to lose good employees while those that those employees of lesser quality remain.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fun but challenging at times.

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The product and people were exciting. There was rewards and recognition by programs.
    There was also some opportunities to create your own job.

    Cons

    If you were effective the hours could be very long and you may be supported/rewarded mainly by program management. There was little or no training or training budget and keeping up with any industry news or advances was mainly done on your own time.
    The communication between levels and in general was poor and any thing which had any budget and was not
    "direct labor" was prone to be cut or minimized. (This does not help long term productivity)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not enough (or incorrect) experience at senior levels (Directors and mid manager level)
    There are directors and managers who have been put in positions which are either beyond their experience level or who have not had the external (or internal) experience in the specific job to do a good job at directing and improving the areas of responsibility.
    They seem to be more of the answer the boss's questions and not being capable of effectively directing or improvements on their own [yes men].
    There are more junior experienced people who could or have had the experience to run a better organization except they are kept either very busy or not given the "Budget or Time" to improve the situation perpetuated by some current management.
    The senior VP's need to get a true experienced professional staff and not rely on some of the current folks who are beyond their levels of competence.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Not the best experience you'll ever have, but ok.

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

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

    Pros

    I was a Principal Electrical Engineer in SSG for many years until recent layoffs (2013-14). As far as I can tell over 200 employees were RIFed company-wide.

    Interesting work. A great experience to work with a company that manufactures communications satellites.

    Most MEs at my level had more fun in the highbay and get to work with cool CAD tools. Most EEs have a more boring secondary function of managing subcontracts.

    Flexible work hours and good benefits. Salary with overtime pay during some crunch periods.

    It’s a pleasant environment with nice landscaping, cafeteria, workout room, attractive offices/cubes with windows.

    Travel can be enjoyable to sites all over the world.

    Cons

    We were required to take lots self-training courses repeated over and over every year, some of which did not apply directly to what we were doing.

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

    At times, middle management could be downright hostile to employees. I noticed this rubbing off between employees. At times there was some task offloading forced on one group, for example, the Mechanical group to the RF group in crunch periods.

    Orbital can be a stressful and sometimes toxic work environment. Hour by hour work task prediction and task progress with efficiency scoring is required by all employees using a daily tracking program (WALT). If you’re not so good at predicting your own work load, which can include a lot of unpredictable tasks due to the nature of the work, and your honest about your hours on each task, you could be putting yourself in jeopardy of being axed from your job. I observed employees fudging the numbers in protest.

    Don’t plan on doing much, if any, hands on work if you’re in the RF components group. There’s just no need for it. All build and test is done by the component subcontractors prior to shipment. Testing at spacecraft level is intentionally handled by others.

    Most recognition/awards seem to be limited to upper management.

    Contract wins are not guaranteed, lay-offs can happen. Orbital is now in the process of merging with ATK.

    Engineers need actual training and professional development opportunities to maintain interest.

    Slow salary growth and little potential for career development.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in the latest software technologies, training employees, and continue process improvement. Stay ahead of and contribute to the latest advances in payload flexibility as if your success depended on it. I think you know this already.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great place to work if that's all you want to do

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

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

    Pros

    The pay is pretty good. I think the management is fairly honest with their employees.

    Cons

    I can sum this up in one phrase. Work-life balance. Essentially, there is none. You work rotating shifts, weekends, holidays. Now I'm sure that there are jobs in this company where you get to go home on weekends, and holidays, and you don't bounce back and forth from days to nights and back to days like a ping-pong ball. But if you work in Building 5 at Dulles, there's a good chance you don't have one of those jobs. I have no sleep cycle anymore. I take pills to sleep and pills to wake up. My doctor has advised quitting for my health.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work-life balance needs to be more than a buzz-word.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Interesting Work

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Amazing caliber of people at the Chandler site. Well-structured systems and processes. Industry leading Quality. Where else do you get to build and launch missiles?

    Cons

    Unbelievably debilitating good-old-boy network. Hostile and unprofessional work environment created by some senior leaders causing good people to leave. HR has no control.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get control of hostile senior leaders before you end up with a lawsuit.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    This would be a good place for new engineers to become exposed to their career functions.

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Mid level supervisors and employees pull together well to resolve critical issues. The personnel are friendly.

    Cons

    Often fail to think and respond to issues strategically. Should truly embrace constructive criticism. Often issues are responded to tactically rather resolve strategically.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Embrace personnel who are concerned about continuous improvements.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    All right place

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Reasonably flexible work/life balance. Good benefits and vacation time. Manager kept department lean to minimize layoffs during slower times.

    Cons

    Limited opportunities for advancement. Can be very cheap. Favors new hires from certain schools.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give younger folks more challenging tasks. Enforce company policy across all departments.

    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    SMF Middle Management

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good pay, benefits and most of my co-workers. Not all of them.

    Cons

    Things change on an hourly basis. Middle management is terrible and I am being kind.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The SMF middle management needs to grow some balls and let the employees know who is in charge.The convicts are running the prison. The place is like club med. Everyone just coming and going as they d%*n well please. On their cell phones at their work locations. Too many breaks, long lunches, smoke breaks, etc. No set start and finish times. No set standard for an operation or anything. Whenever you get it done is fine. That is crap. No discipline or accountability. If you make a mistake several times that's okay. More crap. These people would never make it in the real world.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Rollercoaster Ride

    • 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 for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Talent is well appreciated. Many opportunities to advance. Professional atmosphere, driven individuals. Great deal of emphasis on doing things right. Flexible work hours and good benefits.

    Cons

    Obsession with processes without regard of their effectiveness. Management making decisions in tool selections without regard and understanding of their usefulness. This has cost the company a great deal of lost money and created a lot of resentment. Belief that managing can work without talking to your employees by using software to do that. Unfocused R&D projects started and stopped multiple times then upper management not understanding why these projects cost so much. Upper management completely out of touch with reality (only in the last 4 years) and scrambling to find market traction due to missed internal product development opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of the entire Tech Ops top management. What you have done in the last 4 years proved to be disastrous to GEO business competitiveness. Also you have managed to alienate most of your engineers who really feel that they are just commodities. Understand that WALT will not generate the metrics you are looking for and adds extra overhead burden to operations. Empower your engineers when selecting new tools, do not leave that to your lower level managers. Most of them have no idea how much lost money that will cost the company. Admit if you made mistakes openly and do not be afraid of reversing bad decisions. Also understand that most project developments cost more than what you are willing to admit. Pressuring your employees to sign up to schedules that cannot be met further alienates you from them and you will not get an honest feedback.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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