Coronavirus has done nothing to alter NASA’s plans as the space agency has partnered up with SpaceX and is planning to send its first crewed flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the International Space Station on 27th May.
If the mission is carried out successfully, it will bring a massive breakthrough for NASA as this is the first time its staff members will be launched from the American soil since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
Source: The Verge
NASA has been planning this flight for a long time and therefore appointed SpaceX and its rival Boeing to construct a new spacecraft that would be able to carry astronauts to and from the ISS as part of the Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX’s Dragon Crew was initially used to transport supplies to the ISS but now with new development, it has been transformed into a vehicle that can ferry people.
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley will be the commanding officer on the spacecraft and the other astronaut Bob Behnken will serve as a joint operations commander. The mission faced some challenges due to coronavirus as on April 1st, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for all the people and NASA’s spacecraft is going to use Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida for its launch.
The space agency has made sure that all the policies of telework are strictly implemented, making exceptions only for the essential workers. However, the missions are going to take place as per schedule as NASA is confident about the health measures they take before sending any into space.
“NASA is proactively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it evolves,” NASA said in a statement issued in March when it sent out a call for the press to cover the launch. “The agency will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency’s chief health and medical officer and communicate any updates that may impact mission planning or media access, as they become available.”