NASA shuts down in response to coronavirus
Topics: NASA CORONAVIRUS
“We are going to take care of our people. That’s our first priority,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“Technology allows us to do a lot of what we need to do remotely, but, where hands-on work is required, it is difficult or impossible to comply with CDC guidelines while processing spaceflight hardware, and where we can’t safely do that we’re going to have to suspend work and focus on the mission critical activities.”
As of Monday, March 23, almost all of NASA facilities are hovering at Stage 3 of the agency’s four-stage Response Framework.
NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi were elevated to Stage 4 last week.
So far, two NASA employees, one at Ames and Marshall, respectively, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Stennis and Michoud were shuttered due to concerns about the spread of the virus in the surrounding community.
A number of missions have been delayed or suspended due to mandatory telework at NASA’s centers.
The shutdown of Michoud and Stennis sadly spells delays for both NASA’s SLS and Orion crew capsule.
Testing and integration on both vehicles, integral components of NASA’s beleaguered Artemis Mission, has been paused for the time being. ■