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Orbital Sciences Reviews

19 reviews

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Orbital Sciences Chairman and CEO David W. Thompson
David W. Thompson
10 Ratings

19 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great cafeteria, beautiful location & surroundings, great people to work with (in 12 reviews)

  • Lots of technical challenge and interesting work (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • This type of work environment fosters open collaboration between team members (in 7 reviews)

  • As an engineer, you will not be provided with the time or schedule to get the job done right (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    ""Merger" Killed Everything Good!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Orbital Sciences Corporation was once an extremely rewarding place to work. It had a very innovative and entrepreneurial culture in which everyone worked very hard but toward the same collective goal.

    Cons

    The Orbital and ATK "merger" literally destroyed within the first year everything that had once been good (actually great) about Orbital. ATK is extremely antiquated (although they believe that they are very cutting edge) and they treat all employees as if they are "out to get the company". The ATK culture is based on building silos and a complete lack of transparency.

    Advice to Management

    Former Orbital management needs to start pushing back on the pervasive and toxic ATK culture that is taking over. At least acknowledge that the "merger of equals" was actually an outright acquisition.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Silo Culture at Dulles Campus"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Gained valuable experience working in international subcontract administration while collaborating with various suppliers from around the world to procure complex satellite hardware.

    Cons

    Joined Orbital's subcontracts group after working over ten years for a large defense contractor that embraced the Integrated Product Team (IPT) concept. This type of work environment fosters open collaboration between team members. During the on-site employment interview at Orbital, this was communicated to the hiring manager whom confirmed that an IPT work environment existed at Orbital.

    Soon it was discovered that Orbital may claim to have an IPT work environment, but it is dysfunctional due to its pervasive silo culture. Case in point: Communication flows one way and that is down from the program managers. This forces functional groups (e.g., engineering, planning, finance, supply chain management, etc.) in support of a program to resort to “finger pointing” when a task, milestone or suspense date is at risk. Subcontracts personnel are viewed as support staff only (i.e., just do what I say).

    Advice to Management

    Upper management must take the lead to dismantle the silo culture and establish a more collaborative IPT work environment.

  3. Helpful (7)

    "Bad management, bad culture, bad atmosphere"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Can't really think of too many. It was initially nice that everyone had their own office, but then that lost its appeal pretty quickly when you realized there were no windows and the offices were the size of a closet.

    Cons

    Slow to get things done due to lots of red tape; management was not supportive in career growth and would not listen to requests about wanting to expand skill set. Very old school style approach from management that did not foster a healthy work environment.


  4. Helpful (8)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "EE"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    very bad management


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Seek opportunities elsewhere or limit exposure period"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Principal Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Principal Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Chaotic and Disorganized Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Really Negative Experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Planner in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Senior Planner in Chandler, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Planner - No MRP and no interest in improving."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Material Planner in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Material Planner in Chandler, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Pay and Benefits are great, the health care package is one of the best that I have encountered. The company has a cool product line so you get to work on some neat programs.

    Cons

    Poor working environment. Management in the planning department lacks people skills. The company has an MRP system but refuses to run it so material planning is done by manually looking up hundreds of parts and making sure they are still in stock and available. Sr. management knows this but has no interest in changing it. If your are motivated and looking for a Job where you can make a difference this is not the place to go.

    Lower level management has no interest in improving the situation, simple suggestions to improve processes are rejected outright with no discussion or feedback. Lower level managers lack professionalism, It is not uncommon to be in a staff meeting and hear management call supervisors n other departments derogatory names.

    Departments do not work together, they seem more interested in sticking it to the next guy, or highlighting some obscure error then in working together to achieve companies goals and improve the process. Department politics run rampant.

    Advice to Management

    I would suggest that management focus on running the MRP system and open up to employees looking to improve the process.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "No idea how this place keeps going"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in Dulles, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The work was interesting, and the variety of work was nice. I've worked on scientific, commercial, and defense satellites. There were some truly talented/intelligent people working there.

    Cons

    In a word - Management. The place had a really toxic environment (i.e. CYA rather than team-oriented). There was no training and you are severely chastised when you fall short instead of being educated. Management would only pretent to care about their employees. Unethical. I saw very talented, experienced people get passed over for promotions for people who had no experience (for lack of a better phrase - these were the ass kissers).

    Advice to Management

    Replace 90% of your upper management. A majority of these people are unethical, money hungry, and/or on a power trip.


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