WASHINGTON: Following four months of closing working centers, NASA has managed to keep its primary operations on track as much as others postpone their planned launch missions.
Mars 2020 operations are planned to occur on July 30 on Atlas 5 rocket, which will lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. At first, the launch operation was scheduled to take place on July 17, but as the launch vehicle developed some launch problems, it was delayed to August 15.
In the middle of the pandemic, the liftoff plans seem to be still progressing well.
Michael Watkins, who is the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stated that over 1,000 people who have taken part in the operation, approximately 100 were from Cape Canaveral working on the final sendoff activities, and others were from the JPL. The exercise was excellent, despite the outbreak of Coronavirus. Practically, they seem to be prepared to carry out the launch.
NASA made the Mars 2020 one of its topmost strategies even after the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic had forced the organization to shut down all its centers and to some of its workforces, although those serving primary duties remained.
Another effective launch was that of SpaceX Demo-2 commercial crew test flight after lifting off March 30 and landed it with the International Space Station the following day. The operation is almost coming to an end.
Speaking at a similar Webinar, Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, asserted that the return of Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would be one of the main focus since the last time they engaged in spacewalk activities was on July 21.
As much as both Demo-2 and Mars 2020 remain on the track, there are still launch problems facing NASA Organization. On July 16, NASA confirmed that James Space Webb Telescope’s launch had been delayed to seven months, meaning it will take place in October next year (2021).
When the pandemic appeared to have cut past the anticipated figures, all operations, more so those of carrying out experiments on the main phase of Space Launch Systems, were canceled. The good thing is that those operations have resumed, and the static fire experiment planned to take place in October. However, Jim Bridenstine said that no one is certain if the pandemic will end, and that might still put the mission to delay until further notice. Further delays will affect all scheduled launches planned to be accomplished by companies.
Those who will attend NASA’s Demo-3 launch occasion will be denied access to the launch site- Kennedy Space Center.