Due to the proliferation of coronavirus cases in the geographic environment of the facilities in which both the SLS launcher and the Orion capsule are manufactured, NASA has suspended production and testing of its rocket and capsule .
The first SLS rocket flight with the Orion capsule was scheduled for the second half of 2021, within the framework of the Artemis Program, which aims to take astronauts to the Moon in 2024.
To protect the health and safety of NASA employees as the country responds to the coronavirus, the agency’s leadership recently completed the first assessment of work in progress across all missions, projects and programs .
The goal was to identify tasks that employees can perform remotely at home, mission essential work that needs to be done on-site, and on-site work that will be stopped.
As explained by the agency administrator, Jim Bridenstine :
We realize there will be impacts on NASA missions, but as our teams work to analyze the big picture and reduce risks, we understand that our top priority is the health and safety of NASA’s workforce.
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. Much of the work is done by employees and contractors who work remotely throughout the agency.