Space Missions that are Delayed by Covid-19

Recent COVID-19 pandemic has not only put lockdowns on the Earth but on the space too. Many missions are postponed for safety and other reasons. 

Space Missions that are Delayed by Covid-19
Image: Wikipedia

Space Missions that are Delayed by COVID-19

Space missions are necessary to explore the unseen. Many of them get delayed, cancelled, or even fail. But space agencies accept the challenges and come out with better ideas. Recent pandemic has not only put lockdowns on the Earth but on the space too. Many missions are postponed for safety and other reasons. 

There are many exciting missions scheduled in 2020. One of them is Mars 2020, rover from NASA. Artemis-1 is also on the way. It is going to be the first flight of the Space Launch System. Starship, China Mars probe, and Hope Mars mission and many other missions from various countries are there on the 2020 calendar. 

Social distancing versus Spatial distancing 

The effect of COVID-19 is beyond our visible horizons. Economy, technology, education, and nearly everything is suffering due to the outburst of the virus. The focus of everyone is to find a solution to disease and follow the norms. 

Mission SpaceX 

The mission was scheduled for April, but now it is set for 30 June 2020. The launch of the new GPS navigation satellite, GPS III-3, a new modernized series, is planned for the U.S. military.

"We do not make this decision lightly, however, given our GPS constellation remains strong, we have the opportunity to make a deliberate decision to maintain our mission assurance posture, without introducing additional health risk to personnel or mission risk to the launch," said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson ( SMC commander and program executive officer for space)

Gaganyaan, ISRO

Lockdown effect can be seen on ISRO's missions too. Since the country is following strict regulations, scientists are also working from home using video conferencing. Manufacturing and processing are also affected due to social distancing norms.

Gaganyaan-1 is aimed to be launched by the end of the year. 

The launch of GISAT-1 was also postponed just a day before due to technical issues.

Chandryaan-3, ISRO

The launch date of ISRO's lunar landing mission is likely to be extended due to the pandemic. After the crashing of Vikram Moon lander, this mission is expected a soft landing on the moon's surface. 

According to K. Sivan, ISRO chairman, all research and development and manufacturing are on hold due to COVID-19, and members are working from home to follow social distancing. "We cannot make any decision at this stage. We will have to wait for the lockdown to be lifted," he added.

NASA's Moon Mission

Coronavirus has also reached the ambitions of NASA. 2024 return-to-moon mission is postponed due to an outbreak. NASA chief has put a temporary restraining closure of two rocket production units as one of the employees tested positive. 

The mission aims at astronauts landing on the lunar South Pole. NASA shut down the Michoud Assembly Facility of New Orleans and the Stennis Space Centre due to an increasing number of cases. COVID-19 is not the only reason for the delays. Funding, technical failures, and capsule-destroying fire are some additional issues that affected their launch. 

Hopefully, the launches will take place as soon as the conditions are favourable. We are advancing in the medical field due to COVID-19 and will soon be ready to conquer the space once again. 

Also Read: From SARS to COVID-19, How GIS Maps are a Valuable Data Source