Orbital Sciences

  www.orbital.com
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Orbital Sciences Reviews

Updated August 12, 2014
Updated August 12, 2014
134 Reviews

3.3
134 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Approve of CEO
Orbital Sciences Chairman and CEO David W. Thompson
David W. Thompson
86 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good Environment

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

    Pros

    People, steady work, accommodating of vacation schedules

    Cons

    Overtime about 25% of the year

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overtime pay is poor

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    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

    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
  3.  

    Great place to work

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, convenient location, nice campus

    Cons

    Some reporting tools end up costing the company millions but had very little positive effects.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't waste money on ineffective processes which frustrates your employees with useless repetitive tasks.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    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

    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
  6.  

    Interesting Work

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

    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
  7.  

    Interesting Work

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

    Pros

    Clean and very pleasant campus.

    Cons

    Like everything in life they are not perfect.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Fantastic Internship Experience

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

    Pros

    Got my own office (not cubicle) and did real engineering work. I expected to be doing boring, worthless tasks that are normally associated with internships but instead found myself actually contributing to the project.

    Normally your boss can be flexible with your hours if you need to come in late one day or want to take some time off (after all you are hourly so they only have to pay you when you work).

    Cons

    As an intern I noticed many communication problems between employees and the management and while I did not have to deal with these issues directly they caused people to be frustrated, on edge and somewhat difficult to work with.

    Also on your first day the new hire process is not intern specific, so you end up sitting through some boring presentations that tend to not apply, or only partially apply to you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 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

    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
  10.  

    Great place to work

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

    Pros

    Lots of very interesting programs to work on, and everything is fast-paced and exciting. Lots of opportunities if you are looking for them. Great network for Early Career.

    Cons

    Managers tend to have technical strengths, rather than expertise in management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate better with engineering!

    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

    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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