NASA suspends work on moon mission due to COVID-19 pandemic | HT Tech

NASA suspends work on moon mission due to COVID-19 pandemic

NASA is temporarily stopping work on its Space Launch System and Orion hardware for the Artemis moon mission.

By: HT CORRESPONDENT
| Updated on: Mar 21 2020, 10:21 IST
Concept image of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule for NASA’s moon mission.
Concept image of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule for NASA’s moon mission. (NASA)

NASA earlier today announced it is halting production and testing of its Space Launch System and Orion hardware due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These were being prepared for the Artemis moon mission which is scheduled to take place in April, 2021. NASA has made adjustments for its other projects and facilities as well.

"NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware. The NASA and contractors teams will complete an orderly shutdown that puts all hardware in a safe condition until work can resume. Once this is complete, personnel allowed onsite will be limited to those needed to protect life and critical infrastructure," NASA said in a release.

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NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility and Stennis Space Center are moving to Stage 4 of the NASA Response Framework. Work at these two facilities will now be limited to only personnel deployed for safety and security with approval from the agency leadership and the resident agencies. Mandatory telework is also required for these facilities. The space centre has also suspended all travel as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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"The change at Stennis was made due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community around the center, the number of self-isolation cases within our workforce there, and one confirmed case among our Stennis team. While there are no confirmed cases at Michoud, the facility is moving to Stage 4 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the local area, in accordance with local and federal guidelines," the release added.

 

NASA is continuing work for its Mars 2020 mission on the Perseverance Rover and Mars Helicopter with employees and contractors working remotely. It has however suspended integration and testing operations of the James Webb Space Telescope team in California. Another project in California on NASA's X-plane 'X-59' will continue operations virtually. This X-plane is being developed by aerospace company Lockheed Martin.

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First Published Date: 21 Mar, 07:45 IST
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