COVID-19 could delay important upcoming space missions

Thursday's launch of an Atlas V rocket by United Launch Alliace was for the U.S. Space Force, sending up a communications satellite for the military which is joining a network of five satellites already in orbit.

Upcoming missions for science and exploration are in limbo because of the coronavirus.  The coronavirus outbreak did not delay the ULA mission, but a planned launch by SpaceX which was scheduled for Monday is not happening. The coronavirus has postponed it indefinitely. There are more problems for the industry due to the pandemic.

"NASA centers are closed right now because of the coronavirus," explains space expert Dr. Ken Kremer.

When asked about man’s return to the moon target for 2024, he says the Artemis Program is for the moment frozen.

"There’s no work going on, on preparing the rocket, as well as the Orion deep space capsule, that work has also come to a halt.

At the Kennedy Space Center, NASA says one worker has tested positive so far.  The next big mission on the calendar, to send astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil, was supposed to be in May.

"I think there’s going to be a major impact, yes," Dr. Kremer adds.

That mission, called Demo Two, has not been rescheduled yet. For now, SpaceX and NASA are only saying they will make adjustments as necessary.