Coronavirus Alert Reaches the Space Industry

Coronavirus Alert Reaches the Space Industry

The global scare of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic seems to have a limited yet growing impact on the space industry as some companies and organizations are rethinking about organizing events

Fremont, CA: The global scare of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic seems to have a limited yet growing impact on the space industry as some companies and organizations are rethinking about organizing events. Following a speech at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, NASA Administration Jim Bridenstine stated that the agency was taking a day by day approach to address the disease, and the responses may vary from one field to another based on the location of the outbreaks. "We're taking it at this point day by day. We have ten centers across the nation, and every single one of them, as this continues to develop, is going to be affected differently," Bridenstine said.

According to Bridenstine, NASA is following a tiered approach in handling with the coronavirus, starting with guidance and direction from government officials, tailoring that as needed for various centers. "More than everything, we need people to understand that we care about them individually and that there’s a lot of guidance out there as far as what needs to be done to minimize the risk of infection," he said.

The agency's employees have been told to restrict their international travel only to what is necessary, although it has not put any restrictions on domestic travel. NASA hasn't announced any other restrictions on upcoming meetings or other activities. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency has enforced certain restrictions for the use of its centers. Anyone who has traveled from areas with significant coronavirus outbreaks including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Iran, and northern Italy need to have been out of certain regions of the agency for at least two weeks before they can enter an ESA facility. Currently, the agency's leaders are assessing whether upcoming meetings to be organized by the ESA should take place.

"As soon as the virus reached Europe, we defined clear measures for ESA to minimize its spread," Jan Woerner, director general of ESA, stated in a blog post. “Due to the necessity for us to continue operating satellites, there are some limits to what we can do. Each and every one of us, though, must act responsibly to help counteract the coronavirus.”

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