Monday, 06 April, 2020


Coronavirus spoils NASA's 2024 return-to-moon plan

NASA's Mobile Launcher rolls toward Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center Fla. in June. File NASA's Mobile Launcher rolls toward Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center Fla. in June. File
Kristine Garrett | 20 March, 2020, 22:26

'We realise there will be impacts to NASA missions, but as our teams work to analyse the full picture and reduce risks we understand that our top priority is the health and safety of the NASA workforce, ' said Bridenstine.

When the world stops: The spread of the Coronavirus in the United States led tonight (Thursday to Friday) to close two NASA facilities - and the U.S. plan to return to the moon by 2024 is expected to be hit.

"NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware", said its administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Two US Space Agency facilities have been closed after a NASA engineer was found to have a virus.

NASA announced that it is prepared to proceed with the first crewed expedition of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.

As a result, work on developing the Orion spacecraft - created to bring American astronauts to the Moon by 2024 - will also be suspended causing a delay to NASA's Artemis moon program.

There has been one confirmed case of coronavirus among Stennis employees.

The launch, which will take place from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fire the Crew Dragon at the International Space Station.

"NASA is proactively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it evolves", NASA officials wrote in the advisory.

NASA expects the unmanned test flight of Orion to be delayed until after 2021.

The release, which primarily alerted members of the press that the United States space agency was opening its media accreditation for the event, further noted that the historic launch would take place on Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The spacecraft will be launched atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. The space office as of now finds a way to defend space explorers' wellbeing before they dispatch, including a fourteen-day isolate and review of provisions for organisms.

According to NASA, the Artemis program aims to bring the first woman and the next man to the moon by 2024, establish sustainable exploration by 2028, and send the first astronauts to Mars in the future. Now, even that timeframe may be too optimistic if the work at both Michoud and Stennis facilities is halted for a temporary period.

SLS is a critical part of NASA's Artemis program or "humanity's return to the moon".

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