Rockets, satellites, telescopes: how coronavirus has space

Ракеты, спутники, телескопы: как коронавирус бьет по космосу

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Shifts starts, off the satellites, delays in the construction of spacecraft and space industry is one of the many affected by the pandemic coronavirus.

Pandemic coronavirus, announced to the world, was not spared space industry and science. Amid the spread of the virus has already canceled current startups are transferred space mission, will interrupt any already running satellites.

So, the leadership of the European space Agency announced the reduction of the number of present employees in its headquarters in Darmstadt (Germany).

These measures included temporary suspension of operations and data collection from four space stations that are part of the 21 spacecraft, previously launched by ESA.

Most of the staff works remotely ESA already for about two weeks. Only officers involved in the execution of critical operational tasks related to the control of the satellites, go to jobs.

“Our priority is the health in the workplace, and therefore we reduce the activity of some of our scientific missions, especially the interplanetary vehicles which require the maximum number of employees on the spot, — said the Director of control centre of flights of ESA Rolf Densing. They have stable orbits and large service time, so off their scientific instruments for a certain period will cause minor harm to the performance of the overall mission.”

Cluster — a group of four satellites launched in 2000 to study the Earth’s magnetic field and the influence on it by the solar wind.

Trace Gas Orbiter — launched in 2016, the Orbiter that studies the characteristics of the atmosphere of Mars. Two scientific instrument on Board the Russian.

Mars Express — launched to Mars in 2003, the Orbiter studying the planet’s surface and its atmosphere.

Solar Orbiter — the latest scientific mission that was launched in February 2020 to study the Sun.

“It was a difficult decision, but necessary. Our main duty is the security of people and I know everyone in our academic community understand its necessity,” — says Gunther Hasinger, head of the scientific Department of ESA.

This decision will allow us to focus on other missions, in particular BepiColombo, which is currently sent to mercury, and on April 10 should make a gravity-assist maneuver past Earth.

The situation with coronavirus forced to postpone indefinitely the planned missile launches.

So, on the eve of the American private company Rocket Lab announced the cancellation of the launch of its Electron rocket from the spaceport in New Zealand. This is due to the harsh measures taken by the government to combat the epidemic. Launch satellites for U.S. intelligence and student devices for Boston University was scheduled for March 30, the new launch date is not called.

The company will have to suspend production of missiles Electron at the factory in New Zealand. Previously, because of the coronavirus have been cancelled and other triggers. So, paused the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana by the authorities. Because of this delayed start of the Vega rocket, scheduled for 23 March.

However, the most noteworthy was the statement of the Russian space Agency and ESA about the transfer of the long-awaited ExoMars mission for two years. In addition to technical problems with the test unit was named and complex epidemiological situation.

Earlier, the management of NASA in the background of the situation of coronavirus has suspended the production and testing of their super-heavy rocket Space Launch System (SLS) and a manned spacecraft Orion, designed to send astronauts to the moon and Mars. This was stated by the Director of NASA Jim Breidenstein.

The suspension was subjected to training and other important scientific missions. So, paused, assembling the largest in the last decades of the space telescope James Webb, NASA reported.

Stopped Assembly and the new American Mars Rover Perseverance, scheduled for launch in July this year. Finally, on the eve of the American company Bigelow Aerospace announced the dismissal of 68 employees. These people have already received the notification and are ready to join those 20 employees, which are calculated last week.

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