Orbital Sciences

www.orbital.com
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Orbital Sciences Reviews

Updated February 2, 2015
Updated February 2, 2015
40 Reviews
3.0
40 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Orbital Sciences Chairman and CEO David W. Thompson
David W. Thompson
40 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

40 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1.  

    Mechanical Designer

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

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

    Pros

    Work was challenge and exciting many obstacles and needs for further research and development and research. More supervision was necessary

    Cons

    More instruction needed and responsibilities no supervision of guidance by appropriate supervisors allot of software issues and no help or guidance available

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Review all candidates

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Slightly above average

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

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great environment, great work opportunities, great co-workers, and the management is technically competent. Lots of opportunities to work on tough problems.

    Cons

    Most of the managers at Orbital are not skilled at management. Orbital adheres to the failed practice of promoting only technically competent engineers to management positions. In addition, most of the engineers they promote to management have a tendency to be arrogant and rude. They make decisions without considering long term effects and impacts to employee morale. Employee suggestions and feedback are not just discarded, but I've seen cases where these are mocked by the managers in front of other employees.

    Despite the poor management, the pros of this job exceed the cons. This unfortunately results in very few opportunities for technical advancement.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Establish clear expectations and consequences for managers at all levels. Send all managers to management training / interpersonal communication training. If the managers fail to meet the defined expectations, then apply the associated consequences.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Good Learning Experience

    • 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

    Pros

    Interesting product, and always room for learning.

    Great benefits

    Cons

    Although benefits are good, financial compensation is not the greatest

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    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 (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
  6.  

    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 (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
  7. 2 people 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 (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
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 (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
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    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 (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
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    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 (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
  11.  

    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 (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

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