NASA has a couple of ambitious missions lined up, including the manned mission to the Moon. However, it’s been reported that NASA has suspended all the work related to the Artemis mission, including building and testing the rocket and capsule. As suspected, the reason is the coronavirus pandemic, NASA said.
NASA Facilities Come To Standstill
NASA said that it would be shutting down the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. This is the center where the Space Launch System rocket is being constructed for the Artemis mission. It would also shut down the Stennis Space Center.
“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,” announced NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
This week: the agency’s statements on coronavirus — with health and safety of the workforce the top priority. Plus, online materials to stay connected & news on @NASA_Orion, which completed a test campaign to prepare for the first #Artemis mission. Watch: https://t.co/w4FViel6u0 pic.twitter.com/mo1UI9dTyr
— NASA (@NASA) March 21, 2020
Bridenstine further noted that the space agency will temporarily suspend the production and testing of the 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,” he added.
NASA Artemis Mission Put On Hold
The NASA Artemis mission is one of the ambitious mission by the space agency to send a manned crew to the Moon. The astronauts will be exploring the area around the South Pole of the Moon to find evidence of iced-water on the lunar surface.
A more crucial aspect of the mission is to setup a long-term colony on the Moon and test technologies for crewed missions to Mars later in the decade. NASA has scheduled the Artemis mission to liftoff in 2024, but that will be affected now.
The Space Launch System is the powerful deep-space rockets that will be used to send the astronauts to the Moon and beyond. The Orion is the crew module on the spaceship. Now, the development and production units have come to a standstill.
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