Virus Blights Lunar Mission Prep

March 23, 2020 | 15:29
Virus Blights Lunar Mission Prep
Virus Blights Lunar Mission Prep

NASA reports that construction and testing of the  rocket and capsule for the 2024 manned Artemis mission to the moon is temporarily suspended due to an increasing number of coronavirus cases. The space agency has already closed its Stennis Space Center and the nearby Michoud assembly plant in New Orleans, where the rocket for manned space flight is being built.

These developments are a result of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the communities around the Stennis Space Center, and the rising number of employees confined to self-isolation. NASA is temporarily suspending production and testing of the space launch system and Orion hardware. NASA and its subcontractor teams are performing an orderly shutdown to keep all the hardware in a safe condition until work on the mission can begin again. The Space Launch System is a large, heavy-duty rocket designed to transport astronauts to the moon and beyond. Orion is the module in which the crew will be staying.
 
Return to the moon is the first part of the Artemis program to establish a moon-based colony and to test the technology for a Mars mission planned for the 2030s.
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