The Moon will wait. The NASA announced
Covid-19 cases in its teams working on the Artémis mission,
intended to send astronauts to the Moon. The program has been suspended until further notice, the US space agency announced on Friday.
The American space agency closes its assembly center in Michoud, New Orleans, where it is manufactured its Space Launch System (SLS) heavy launcherand the Stennis Space Center test bench in Mississippi, administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Thursday.
More and more employees affected
This decision “in Stennis is due to the growing number of Covid-19 (illness) cases in the population around the center, the number of self-containment employees among our staff on site and a confirmed case of contamination in our team in Stennis “, he said.
“NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of SLS and Orion equipment. NASA and the teams of subcontractors will implement an orderly shutdown of the site which will put all the equipment in safety while waiting for work to resume. ” The Space Launch System is a powerful launcher intended to take the Orion spacecraft. The Covid-19 pandemic, linked to the new coronavirus, could therefore hamper the objectives of the American government
to bring a crew to lunar soil by 2024.
“We are aware that there will be impacts on NASA’s missions, but while our teams are working to analyze the overall situation and reduce risks, our top priority is the health and safety of personnel at Nasa, ”said Jim Bridenstine. This mission from NASA’s Artemis program is the first in a series whose objective is to make long-term stays on the surface of the Moon to study it and develop the techniques necessary for manned missions. on the surface of Mars.