Published on March 21st, 2020 📆 | 6946 Views ⚑0
NASA confirms commercial crew remains a priority, but testing of James Webb telescope and other activities halted – Newsdio
POT Administrator Jim Bridenstine has been sharing regular updates on how his agency is approaching the rapidly changing global coronavirus pandemic situation. This week, NASA increased its response multiple times due to changing circumstances, including changing the state of working conditions at all of its facilities across the country, and on Friday the agency summarized the current status of each of its facilities and Important projects in a comprehensive report. to update.
Work continues on some missions that are considered critical, and on projects where teleworking and teleworking is possible. These include the Commercial Crew Program, which is slated to return human spaceflight capabilities to American soil through private partners. Boeing and SpaceX They are NASA partners for this program, and NASA says this continues despite the in-person operations requirement because it represents “a critical element in maintaining safe operations on the International Space Station and a sustained US presence in the laboratory.” in orbit. ” SpaceX and NASA confirmed earlier this week that they still plan to launch the first manned Dragon mission to the ISS in mid to late May.
In order to keep the ISS crew “fully stocked and safe,” NASA says it will also continue to operate its commercial refueling missions, which transport experiments, food, water and more to the space station using vehicles, including those from SpaceX Dragon Charge Pod. For similar reasons, it will keep the Mission Control Center open at the Johnson Space center, with flight control personnel, although it is adding “additional measures” to ensure the safety of those present.
Meanwhile, work on the James Webb Telescope in California is temporarily suspended, meaning the integration and testing that was taking place in preparation for its planned launch in March. Preparations are also continuing for NASA’s launch of Mars 2020, which includes reviving its Perseverance Rover and Mars Helicopter exploration vehicles – that mission is scheduled for July 2020 right now.
Virtual inspection work is also being done on the X-59 pilot supersonic test aircraft being developed in California, and Lockheed Martin, who is building the plane for the agency, continues work in person on that project. NASA also keeps the lights on at the Ames Research Center in California to ensure that the agency’s supercomputing and computer security operations can continue without interruption.
Mission support for the existing spacecraft will continue, as will astronaut training (which is generally subject to strict isolation protocols to prevent disease anyway). Earlier this week, the agency announced that it would suspend work on both the SLS spacecraft and the Orion capsule that will transport both the key components of its Artemis program, which aims to bring humans back to the Moon and , finally, to Mars. . Artemis has stuck to a deadline set for 2024 for its mission to bring people back to the Moon’s surface, but these pullbacks in total represent the surest signal so far that we’ll likely see that window slip, although it may be skeptical about the calendar. suggested that it would actually be later than that anyway.