Orbital Sciences Reviews | Glassdoor

Orbital Sciences Reviews

Updated February 16, 2017
175 reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Middle and upper management is stuffed with people going nowhere (in 8 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. 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.


  2. "Interesting Work"

    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
    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.


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

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

    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 Management

    Embrace personnel who are concerned about continuous improvements.


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  5. "Great Place, Awesome Stuff"

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

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You get to work on some pretty neat things with a team that's usually full of very smart people.

    Cons

    Contract wins are not constant, so lay-offs do happen.

    Advice to Management

    Win, Win, Win. Contracts that is.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "All right place"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    Former Employee - Engineer in Chandler, AZ
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (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 Management

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


  7. "SMF Middle Management"

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

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (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 Management

    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.


  8. "Great company to work for!"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Orbital does awesome work in the space industry. I worked on their Geostationary Satellites for 10yrs. They have a niche is about every area of the space industry and lots of opportunities for growth.

    Cons

    Satellite industry goes in cycles. The ups are up and the downs are down.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work and more business will come your way!


  9. "Being involved in spacecraft manufacturing."

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

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

    Pros

    It was a great experience to work with a company that manufacture rockets, satellites and being involved in the sucseful

    Cons

    Cross training was not available.

    Advice to Management

    Need more training for the employees


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Disappointed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gilbert, AZ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gilbert, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Orbital Sciences full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very knowledgeable first-line employees and interesting, challenging work. Very bright engineers in several select groups.

    Cons

    Since the division in Gilbert, AZ was purchased by Orbital, employee morale has steadily declined. This division is no longer the energetic, fast paced and cohesive team it used to be due to the extremely toxic culture forced upon it by remote upper management in Dulles.

    Pay raises are poor and embarrassing, even for superior performers. NO technical training. Very tight overhead budgets make process improvement difficult. Even simple process improvement initiatives need to be authorized at extraordinarily high levels of management.

    No sense of team or common goals between employees and upper management.

    Advice to Management

    Senior Management is unprofessional, not conducive to team building and focuses on negatives instead of accomplishments. There needs to be a significant cultural change for this company to attract and retain the best and brightest.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Best job of my life."

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

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

    Pros

    Global Engineering leaders, high quality work.

    Cons

    Demanding, heavy workload; pay for your own travel and reimbursed later.

    Advice to Management

    Fewer top management, more worker bees.


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