Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, most of the activities worldwide have slowed down and even halted. This is because of the contagious nature of the virus. The safety of the workers has always been a priority however urgent the task in hand is. Jim Bridenstine, the senior official at NASA, said that protecting their people is their priority and they are going to protect them. In his speech, he added that the modern technology can enable remote operation of almost all sorts of work and the social distancing rule can still be maintained while operations are still going on, however, he insisted that there is critical hardware that handling physically is almost unavoidable hence cannot be done remotely.
In response to the orders issued by the US corona task force, the NASA officials assessed all their duties and tasks. They evaluated the projects to filter out the tasks that could be carried out remotely, they also evaluated the tasks that could be avoided completely due to their on-site demand for the workers were reluctant to turn up to their duties due to their health precautions. Some of the critical tasks were as well paused due to the coronavirus threat.
Despite the need to maintain social distancing and the stay at the home initiative, there are still mission-essential operations that had to continue as usual. Operations such as the US national security schedules had to maintain business as usual for their time-bound nature. Since their halt can put the US national security under jeopardy which could be in turn more hazardous than the coronavirus pandemic which is in hand at the moment. Fraudsters that might utilize the situation as an avenue to manoeuvre their unfair means must still be kept at bay.
The 2020 Mars mission being operated by NASA is still prioritized and all the operations are being carried out as usual. This is ensured by taking the necessary precautions imposed by the health workers and the coronavirus task force to ensure the safety of the workers. Most of the work is being carried out remotely and the wearing of masks and the protective suits are being adhered to effectively. Because the schedules, time and financial constrain remain a major factor in the mission. The on-site operations such as the jet propulsion laboratories are in their full occupancy due to the sensitivity of their task, hence, assessment of the personnel is efficiently done to ensure safety and healthy working environment.
The space telescope team led by James Webb has suspended all the tests that were to be carried out in response to the coronavirus threat in California, due to the sensitive care for the health of their workers. However much the demand for their services is, their workers are not invincible to the health situation in hand hence, they suspended all of their operations as well as the ongoing ones paused in response to the health risk imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Other organizations that have as well responded to put their activities on hold include the space launch services and Orion, an organization responsible for manufacturing and doing tests at Michaud facility. Moreover, Stem’s space center has as well halted its operations for the safety of its workforce.
The virtual operation of equipment and facilities is a technology being implemented by most of the NASA departments, this ensures that the operations are done remotely and social distancing is maintained, and most of the onsite work is suspended. The human landing system program utilizes the technology of various agencies for remote simulation of the analyses that require engineering personnel. The X planes continue with their operations including the Lockheed X 59 which is still the largest pilot-operated x plane. They have ensured that all the activities involving oversight and the inspection of work in progress and work completed are done virtually. The hardware and software required by NASA’s space launch rocket are impeded in supply by the coronavirus pandemic, the agency responsible for their production, Artemis, is continuing their tasks and operations though with a limited production of the various products for the space rockets’ launching. All the operations are remotely carried out except when securing the various hardware as finished products.
To maintain the NASA’s IT operations, research centers such as Ames research center is maintaining the online operations of their supercomputing programs, they ensure that space inflight crafts are well operated and the operators are in secure and safe conditions. The critical weather conditions and GPS services are still in constant operation. This is well maintained by the space communication networks agency. The Hubble’s space telescope is as well in full operation for astronomic conditions.
The training of the Astronauts is still in progress despite the coronavirus pandemic. This is managed by ensuring that persons with flu-like symptoms and cold are barred from accessing the international space station. Anyone that must visit the station is held in quarantine for two weeks to ensure that they are neither sick nor harboring any incubating illness within their body system for the safety of the astronauts, they refer to this procedure as health stabilization. The incubation period of the coronavirus is approximate two weeks, thenceforth, it becomes full-blown, therefore the two weeks‘ obligation is as a result of the directive given by the US coronavirus task-force.
In case of a complete halt of the operations of NASA departments, the international space station can suffer the most, this is because the crew will lack supplies and replacement. Hence agencies such as the commercial crew program maintain their operations amid the COVID 19 pandemic, the orbiting laboratory being a sensitive and dynamic department requires a constant supply of replacements and supplies hence, their operations must be maintained. Generally, most of the agencies remain in the third stage status and they ensure compulsory teleoperations by all of their workers. Besides, stage four status of operation has been reached by Ames, Michaud and Stems, an attempt to ensure life is protected as well as the essential infrastructure.
The directors of NASA, despite their attempt to ensure constant operation of the essential infrastructure, they are out on watch to monitor what comes out of the coronavirus pandemic, they are constantly acquiring information from all the responsible organization that can provide useful information concerning the coronavirus pandemic to enable them to make better decisions for their operations and to protect their workforce.