To protect the health and safety of its workforce as the US responds to coronavirus, NASA has completed the first assessment of work underway across all missions, projects and programs.
The goal was to identify tasks that can be done remotely by employees at home, mission-essential work that must be performed on site and on site work that will be paused.
The space agency has defined mission-essential work as that which must be performed to maintain critical mission operations to ensure the schedule of time-sensitive mission-critical launches, or work to protect life and critical infrastructure.
This includes work to support America’s national security and mission-essential functions for the nation.
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, which includes the Perseverance Rover and Mars Helicopter, remains a high priority for the agency, and launch and other mission preparations will continue.
NASA said much of the work is being done by employees and contractors who work remotely across the agency.
Work on NASA’s Artemis program is continuing with limited production of hardware and software for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
SLS and Orion manufacturing and testing activities at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility and Stennis Space Center are temporarily on hold.
The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will be shipped from NASA’s Glenn Research Center to Kennedy Space Center where it eventually will be attached on top of SLS for the Artemis I lunar mission.
Assembly and processing work is continuing on the Artemis II Orion spacecraft at Kennedy.
The James Webb Space Telescope team, also in California, is suspending integration and testing operations.
Decisions could be adjusted as the situation continues to unfold. NASA said the decision was made to ensure the safety of the workforce and the observatory remains safe in its cleanroom environment.
All work associated with supporting International Space Station operations continues.
Flight controllers are working in the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston, where a number of additional measures went into effect in early March to reduce the risk of exposure to the team.
Most of the space agency remains under a Stage 3 status, with mandatory telework for all employees with limited exceptions for on-site work. Ames, Michoud, and Stennis are at Stage 4 with personnel on-site to protect life and critical infrastructure.
NASA leadership continues to monitor developments regarding coronavirus around the nation and follow the guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local and state health officials in order to keep the NASA community safe.