NASA Looking to “Vector” Its Expertise to Fight COVID-19, Gets $60 Million in Senate Stimulus Bill

NASA Looking to “Vector” Its Expertise to Fight COVID-19, Gets $60 Million in Senate Stimulus Bill

NASA is looking at ways to “vector” its expertise to assist in the fight to end the coronavirus pandemic.  Ideas include assisting companies building ventilators, making masks and other clean-room equipment available to the medical community, and creating a “NASA at Work” challenge where anyone in the agency can offer ideas on where NASA can help.  Meanwhile, the Senate passed its stimulus package just before midnight. It includes $60 million for NASA.

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Another Hiccup for SpaceX On the Road to Demo-2

Another Hiccup for SpaceX On the Road to Demo-2

A parachute test for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon went awry today.  While it was not a failure of the parachute itself, it could impact the schedule for the crewed flight test to the International Space Station, Demo-2, that the company and NASA hope to launch in May. It follows an engine failure on the most recent Falcon 9 launch that is under investigation.

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NASA and the Coronavirus — Where Things Stand

NASA and the Coronavirus — Where Things Stand

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is difficult to overstate.  These are unprecedented times and the uncertainty can be demoralizing.  Against this backdrop, NASA is trying to move forward with its programs to explore the universe and understand the Earth mostly via telework, and with perseverance — the name aptly chosen for NASA’s latest Mars rover a few weeks ago.  The situation keeps changing, but here is a snapshot of where everything stands as of late evening March 23.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy March 22-April 4, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 22-April 4, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next TWO weeks, March 22-April 4, 2020, and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate schedules are in flux.

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Coronavirus Suspends Work on the James Webb Space Telescope

Coronavirus Suspends Work on the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA announced another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic today.  Integration and testing of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at its prime contractor in California has been suspended.  Earlier in the day, the head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said the coronavirus crisis is impacting all of his programs as NASA facilities move to telework-only and local and state jurisdictions institute measures to stop the spread of the virus.

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So Far So Good for Mars 2020

So Far So Good for Mars 2020

The coronavirus has not impacted the Mars 2020 mission, at least not yet, according to the head of NASA’s planetary science division.  Spacecraft can only be launched to Mars every 26 months when the planets are aligned properly, so missing this summer’s launch window would be unfortunate.

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Work on SLS and Orion Suspended at Stennis and Michoud Due to Coronavirus

Work on SLS and Orion Suspended at Stennis and Michoud Due to Coronavirus

Despite an upbeat assessment yesterday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced tonight that he is suspending work on the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft at two NASA facilities because of the coronavirus.  Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) have been moved to Stage 4 of the agency’s Response Framework, meaning only personnel needed to maintain safety and security are allowed on site.

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Chris Cassidy On Track for 6-Month ISS Visit Despite Coronavirus

Chris Cassidy On Track for 6-Month ISS Visit Despite Coronavirus

The global coronavirus pandemic is changing a few pre-launch plans, but will not prevent a new crew from launching to the International Space Station next month. Soyuz MS-16 will deliver two Russian cosmonauts and NASA’s Chris Cassidy for a 6-month mission aboard the orbiting facility. Cassidy sounded upbeat during interviews this morning, though disappointed that family and friends will not be on hand for the launch.

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NASA & SpaceX Soldier On Despite Coronavirus, Set May for Launch of Demo-2

NASA & SpaceX Soldier On Despite Coronavirus, Set May for Launch of Demo-2

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine reassured the agency’s workforce today that the coronavirus has not significantly impacted operations so far.  In fact, NASA and SpaceX formally set mid-to-late May as the timeframe for the launch of SpaceX’s crewed test flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Demo-2.  While that is a “no earlier than” window, it is a significant step for the commercial crew program and a sign of normalcy in such uncertain times.

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All of NASA Now On Mandatory Telework Due to Coronavirus

All of NASA Now On Mandatory Telework Due to Coronavirus

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine moved all NASA centers and facilities into Stage 3 of its Response Framework because of the coronavirus outbreak.  That means all but “mission essential” NASA employees now must work from home.

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