Science 2 min read

COVID-19 Concerns: NASA Suspends Work on Moon Rocket

L Galbraith /

L Galbraith /

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has suspended work on building and testing its moon rocket due to coronavirus.

NASA has been building the Space Launch System rocket that’s meant to land on the moon’s surface in two of its facilities. These include Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the nearby Stennis Space Center.

Now, the agency has announced intentions to suspend building and testing of the moon rockets due to rising cases of COVID19.

In a statement to the press, the space agency administrator, Jim Bridenstine said:

“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.”

Bridenstine further explained that NASA and the contractor teams would complete an orderly shutdown. Meanwhile, all the hardware related to the moon rocket will remain in a safe condition until work can resume.

The new development could affect the NASA mission.

Suspended Moon Rocket Work Could Impact Timeline

NASA has been working on its Artemis mission — which aims to set-up a long term colony on the moon.

Along with building a moon rocket, the agency also put out a call to recruit astronauts for the mission. Expectedly, NASA has an official timeline for the Artemis mission.

It begins with the unmanned Artemis I in 2021, followed by the Artemis II — a human-crewed spacecraft. The mission ultimately ends with Artemis III taking the astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024.

With the coronavirus pandemic hitting the United States, the plans to return to the moon could remain on-hold for a while.

Bridenstine said:

“We realize there will be impacts to NASA missions, but as our teams work to analyze the full picture and reduce risks, we understand that our top priority is the health and safety of the NASA workforce.”

Read More: Mushroom Base Could House NASA Scientists on Mars

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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