HOUSTON -- The biggest impact of the government shutdown in Space City may be at the Johnson Space Center where 3,000 NASA employees got the official word today that they are on furlough.
Eighteen thousand NASA employees are on furlough nationwide.
Several NASA workers were at Clear Lake Park Tuesday night, helping Josh Strasner celebrate his victory over colon cancer.
“I am a survivor,” Strasner said. “The majority of which are really at NASA all been impacted somewhat by the government shutdown.”
Many of them went to work for a few hours just to put things in order, then went home to put things in order there.
“My wife and I decided not to do certain things to hire certain services, those are the decisions we’re all making,” said Assistant Program Manager for Orion Paul Marshall.
So the Marshalls cut out a tree trimming service.
“We had a similar shutdown in the 90s, it wasn't an ideal situation,” said Flight Simulator Manager Mike McFarlane.
Uncle Sam had shut down for three weeks. Longtime NASA families remembered it clearly. Rachael Jenkins’ husband worked for NASA then.
“That was scary for it to go on for so long,” Jenkins said. “You cut back, you don't go out.”
Folks were able to find a bright spot. Claire Mules learned the IRS isn’t at work either.
“This number is not available today,” Mules said. “The system is not available today.”
She joked maybe taxpayers would get a break from paying the IRS, asking “if it’s not working do we get a couple of furlough days as well?”
No such luck. Even if the shutdown lasts a few weeks this time too, there are tougher battles.
“It kinda pales in comparison -- puts things in perspective,” Strasner said.
Some of the furloughed NASA folks remain on call. So if there's an emergency, they're called in to help which means, even though they aren't going to work, they still can't leave town.