CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA told a Senate panel on Monday that it anticipates losing 3,000 to 4,000 jobs at its launching site once the space shuttles stop flying in two more years, about half the cutback initially reported.

Although as many as 6,000 to 7,000 shuttle jobs will be eliminated at Kennedy Space Center, about 3,000 positions will open up in the new exploration program, said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. Those jobs will be created to build and fly new spaceships to the international space station and, ultimately, to the moon.

"I can't say it's good news, but it's certainly news that's a step in the right direction," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the space subcommittee, who organized the hearing.