Orbital Sciences Reviews

Updated August 27, 2015
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161 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    Fun but challenging at times.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  2. Helpful (3)

    Not a great experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous
    Former Employee - Anonymous
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  3. Satisfyingly close to flying things

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I enjoyed the opportunity to work on different projects, and be close to the technical action. People worked well together. Opportunities for training and external education were good.

    Cons

    Sometimes HR processes were kind of disorganized or slow (hiring, trying to place RIFed workers). This may be increased for a while with the addition of ATK.

    Advice to Management

    Enhance the ability of employees to look for jobs in other locations and divisions. Increase priority for finding opportunities for laid-off workers.


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  5. Great Overall Work Environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Current Employee - Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Variety of interesting engineering projects. If you are eager to learn, there is a wide variety of topics to explore and master. Orbital is great about hiring interns/entry level engineering - there always seems to be opportunities for fresh talent.

    Cons

    Salary increase and career tracking is poor. Merit increase and performance tracking is all but non-existent. People who are relatively useless technically/engineering wise and performing tasks an intern or engineering aide should do are Principal, Sr. Principal and even Master level Engineers. It is easy to fool management due to the poor performance tracking. This is not a cutthroat environment - slackers and eager-to-achievers are treated nearly the same (differentiated by maybe 1% salary increase yearly).


  6. Good Environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Electrical Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Current Employee - Senior Electrical Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    People, steady work, accommodating of vacation schedules

    Cons

    Overtime about 25% of the year

    Advice to Management

    Overtime pay is poor


  7. Helpful (1)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  8. Great place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 5 years)

    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 Management

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


  9. Helpful (3)

    Interesting Work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  10. Helpful (7)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    - 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.


  11. Interesting Work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dulles, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Clean and very pleasant campus.

    Cons

    Like everything in life they are not perfect.



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