Space Projects Could be at Risk of Delay Due to Coronavirus Outbreak Written 27 March 2020


Artist's rendition of NASA's Lucy mission. | NASA

The Houston Chronicle reports that due to the coronavirus outbreak, pressure has been building on several projects such as “the already ambitious Trump administration goal of reaching the moon by 2024,” as well as “the Lucy spacecraft and the Perseverance Mars rover,” which “have very specific launch windows that would be costly to miss.” The goal to reach the moon in 2024 “could become impossible if telecommuting substantially slows work or if the $2 trillion stimulus package dampens the federal government appetite for discretionary spending.” Southwest Research Institute’s – “the team leading the NASA Lucy mission” – Chief Scientist Hal Levinson said that Lucy’s plan “for a narrow 21-day launch window that starts Oct. 21, 2021, to study the Trojan asteroids sharing Jupiter’s orbit around the sun [is] ‘actually in a very vulnerable place,’” because of the coronavirus outbreak. Planetary Society Chief Advocate and Senior Space Policy Adviser Casey Dreier said, “It really emphasizes that what happens in space depends on what’s happening on Earth.”
Full Story (Houston Chronicle)