Business & Real Estate

Aerojet adding jobs at Mississippi plant

Aerojet Corp. in Rancho Cordova, seen Friday, March 12, 2004, is adding 200 jobs to its Mississippi site near the Stennis Space Center.
Aerojet Corp. in Rancho Cordova, seen Friday, March 12, 2004, is adding 200 jobs to its Mississippi site near the Stennis Space Center. Sacramento Bee file

As it reduces its presence in the Sacramento area and pulls its headquarters out of the region, Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. is expanding elsewhere.

The Rancho Cordova rocket-engine maker said Monday it will add 200 jobs at its Mississippi location. The hiring will more than double Aerojet’s employment at the plant, at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

Aerojet’s new employees will work on the new AR1 rocket engines, which are being developed to replace Russian-made models that have been used for years to launch most U.S. military space satellites. “We have had a long history of partnering with Stennis to power the nation into space,” said Aerojet President and Chief Executive Eileen Drake in a prepared statement. “Assembly and testing of the AR1 at NASA Stennis adds to that legacy.”

The AR1 project represents new work, so none of the jobs being created in Mississippi are being transferred out of Rancho Cordova, Aerojet spokeswoman Lynn Machon said.

Still, the announcement, made at an air show in England, is another reminder of Rancho Cordova’s diminishing importance to Aerojet.

Two months ago, the company said it would move its headquarters to El Segundo sometime this summer. The company said the Southern California site, where its Rocketdyne operations are based, makes more sense because many of its customers in the aerospace business are there.

Portions of the headquarters have been transferred already, although the process won’t be complete for several months, Machon said. All told, the headquarters relocation is expected to eliminate fewer than 50 jobs in Rancho Cordova.

Those cutbacks follow Aerojet’s announcement a year ago that it would trim about 250 jobs at the Rancho Cordova site within four years. The operation off Highway 50 employs roughly 1,500 workers. In the company’s glory days in the 1960s, employment at Rancho Cordova topped 20,000.

Aerojet shares closed Monday at $18.46, up 6 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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