Coronavirus pandemic has affected a lot of countries worldwide, claiming the lives of many. Various organizations have mandated work from home to ensure the employees stay safe. The same extends to NASA, where many of the NASA facilities have shut down. The shut down has affected various space projects and missions, including the NASA James Webb space telescope project.
NASA James Webb Telescope
NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen answered various queries about the COVID-19 virus and how it’s going to affect various space missions. Zurbuchen noted that different types of activities will be affected differently by the telework guidelines. He noted that many missions require developing requirements that can’t be done remotely.
This includes the NASA James Webb telescope project, which is over-budgeted and much delayed. As the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb telescope was scheduled to liftoff in March 2021, but there’s only a 12 percent chance of meeting the deadline, even without the coronavirus pandemic, suggests a report from the Government Accountability Office.
Zurbuchen confirmed that the James Webb telescope project will be further delayed. “Of course it will be impacted, even though it’s one of our top priorities, as we’ve said repeatedly; personnel for integration and testing work has been reduced already,” he said.
NASA Delays Space Missions
Apart from the James Webb space telescope project, a lot of other space missions and projects are going to be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes the NASA Artemis mission to the Moon, which involved sending astronauts to explore the lunar surface.
NASA isn’t the only space agency facing delay. A joint mission between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos of Russia called the ExoMars mission has also been delayed. The mission involved sending a rover to explore the Red Planet to dig up evidence of life. Most of these missions and projects have been put off indefinitely with no exact date of the launch announced.
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