Coronavirus: March 2020 Archives

NASA SMD: Frequently Asked Questions about Grants and Research during the COVID-19 Epidemic

"If you have questions about conducting your research or managing your grants during the COVID-19 epidemic, NASA SMD has prepared a Question and Answer document. The document outlines SMD's implementation of recent guidance from the Office of Management and the Budget as well as questions regarding the processing of existing awards and the donation of Personal Protective Equipment purchased using NASA grant funds."

Keith's note: I got this note from a Lockheed Martin employee last night:

"Keith: I have been an avid reader of NASAWatch since the 1990's (RIFwatch times) and I saw the post on Lockheed Martin's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a large Lockheed Martin team working last week and this past weekend with local hospitals in Denver to help make items to replace PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that are critically needed. Some are as simple as repurposing the standard surgical masks into 3D printed cartridge filters that can attach to respirator masks, making 3D printed respirator masks, and even rapid prototyping PAPRs (Powered, Air-Purifying Respirator) that the hospital cannot get.

I have worked here for three decades and this is still the coolest thing I have seen Lockheed Martin do. I am even more surprised and proud that the company is doing this without PR. Corporate is really behind this and it is all overhead or volunteer hours (one of my designers has been in over 30 hours this weekend to support).

From what I have seen locally they really are working hard to do just about all they can do on short turn around. This is not just local though. All portions of the company from Space, to Aero, to Information Systems have been engaged to do this same support - with the specific focus driven by local needs of hospitals - not corporate. I am actually proud of what corporate is doing. Great efforts are being done with no press and that is wonderful and worth lauding."

I am told from another source that Lockheed Martin has collected maks and safety glasses from their shops in their Denver facilities, Michoud Assembly Facility, and Kennedy Space Center.

Well done.

- Lockheed Martin Details How It Plans To Respond to COVID-19, earlier post

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - March 30, 2020, NASA

"Thank you for all your questions in last week's Ask the Administrator. Our agency's response to COVID-19 is admirable and characteristic of the strength and spirit of our team. If you haven't had a chance to view the recording, you can do so here. These difficult challenges have a way of bringing out our best and because of that I believe we will be better for it. Please continue to stay in frequent contact with your supervisor and check the NASA People website regularly for updates."

Keith's note: According to four five six nine ten NASA facilities are now at Stage 4 on the NASA COVID-19 Response Framework: Ames, Michoud, GISS, Stennis, Glenn, Plum Brook, Goddard, Wallops, Armstrong and now Marshall. Everyone else is currently at Stage 3.

Boeing Statement on Passage of CARES Act

"Boeing's top priority is to protect our workforce and support our extensive supply chain, and the CARES Act will help provide adequate measures to help address the pandemic. We have also taken a number of measures for affordability and liquidity as we navigate the challenges our industry currently faces, including forgoing pay for our CEO and board chairman, suspending our dividend until further notice, and extending our existing pause of any share repurchasing until further notice."

Statement From Lockheed Martin Chairman, President And CEO Marillyn Hewson On COVID-19 Response

"At Lockheed Martin, we recognize that the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its wide-ranging impacts have caused severe disruption across society and tragic loss of life around the world. We also recognize that the global pandemic has created a need for urgent action by government, business, communities and citizens. In response to this crisis, our company will be guided by and operate with three clear priorities. First, we will continue to protect the health and safety of our men and women on the job and their families. Second, we will continue to perform and deliver for our customers because what they do for our national security, global communications, and infrastructure is critical to our nation and our allies. Third, we will do our part to use our know-how, resources, and leadership as a company to assist our communities and our country during this period of national crisis."

Keith's note: Boeing begs for $60 billion in tax dollars but won't say what they will do with the money or how they will help their employees while Lockheed Martin specifically talks about taking care of their people and others. Hmmm ... $60 billion for Being. Assuming 150,000 employees (give or take) that would be $400,000 per employee. That's enough to keep people employed for a year or two. Just sayin'

Teamwork and Resilience: Today's Ask the Administrator, NASA

"Thank you for all the great questions submitted for this week's virtual Ask the Administrator. With the assistance of Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk and Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk, we got through as many questions as possible in this session. I encourage you to take a moment to watch the video online at The video also will be posted to"

NASA Virtual Town Hall: Ask the Administrator 25 March 2020 (Transcript), NASA

Elon Musk's SpaceX puts employees in quarantine after two workers get coronavirus, telegraph

"An employee and a medic at Elon Musk's SpaceX have tested positive for coronavirus, causing the company to put at least 12 of its workers in quarantine. Employees were told on Monday afternoon that two people working at the company's facility in Hawthorne, near Los Angeles had the virus, according to a company email seen by The Telegraph."

Keith's note: I am starting to see Facebook and social media posts by people I know - who know people who are sick with COVID-19 - or have died. This will start to accelerate sharply albeit exponentially in the next week or so. Remember back in the 80s and 90s when your gay friends would comment once in a while about the increasing number of friends they lost to AIDS and the air of despair and hopelessness that accompanied that loss - and the aching hope for a cure? Think of that decade or so of prolonged loss compressed into mere months. That is what COVID-19 can and will do unless everyone does their part to limit the spread. Add in what we all went through during/after 9-11, Columbia, and Katrina for good measure. We've all seen those movies before. And we all made it through each of them.

If you have worked at NASA for more than 5 minutes then you have heard the old "there is no 'I' in team" management theme. Well, guess what: that is now obsolete. The "I" is now of paramount importance. Every single person can - and must - make a contribution by staying home, being cautious, listening to medical professionals, and adapting to the new normal of doing rocket science from home. Acting as an individual is now of core importance to the team.

As Jim Bridenstine noted "Each of us has the important responsibility of taking extra precautions to protect ourselves and our team. If you are performing on-site work and feel sick, do not go to work. Contact your supervisor immediately and schedule an appointment with your primary care provider."

I take Jim 200% at his word. If your center is not at Stage 4 yet and you think that it should be, then tell your management. If you do not feel comfortable doing so or think that they are not listening then please borrow the NASAWatch comments section - or send an email - and I will make sure the message is delivered - with anonymity.

In the mean time, now that working at NASA - is working from home - in isolation - there is one example to emulate: Think like Mark Watney. He teleworked from Mars for years. He eventually showed up at his NASA office on Earth after all the bad stuff was over.

So can you.

Message From The NASA Administrator: March 24 Update on Agency Response to Coronavirus

"Our nation is fighting an invisible enemy - coronavirus (COVID-19). NASA is implementing important measures across the agency to do our part to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our communities. To continue NASA's inspiring mission, the safety of our workforce is our top priority. We will not ask employees and contractors to perform work if we do not have the highest confidence that it is safe to do so. ... Each of us has the important responsibility of taking extra precautions to protect ourselves and our team. If you are performing on-site work and feel sick, do not go to work. Contact your supervisor immediately and schedule an appointment with your primary care provider."

ISS National Laboratory: COVID-19 Response and Update, CASIS

"Effective March 20, 2020, we elevated the COVID-19 response level at the ISS National Lab, enacting a mandatory telework policy for our team. ... As we endeavor to navigate this very dynamic situation, we will provide status updates as necessary. For now, let's all do the best that we can to remain safe and healthy. Let's also make an effort to remain connected to one another through this challenging time. All the best and trying to be Mark Watney."

ESA COVID-19 Responses

ESA scales down science mission operations amid pandemic, ESA

"In response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, ESA has decided to further reduce on-site personnel at its mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The new adjustments require temporarily stopping instrument operation and data gathering on four Solar System science missions, which are part of the wider fleet of 21 spacecraft currently flown by the Agency from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt. ESA implemented risk mitigation measures early on. The vast majority of ESA's workforce has been teleworking for nearly two weeks. Only key personnel performing critical tasks, which include maintaining real-time spacecraft operations, are still present on site at ESA's establishments throughout Europe."

NASA Science Mission Directorate Virtual Town Hall 2020

"The leadership of SMD recognizes that the COVID-19 epidemic has placed tremendous strain on all of us and our families, disrupting our lives and putting new hurdles in the way of accomplishing our professional goals. Our first priority is the safety of everyone who works on NASA missions and funded research and SMD leadership is committed to doing all it can to support our community. I want to thank all of you for your patience and hard work as we transition to this new normal.

We know that progress on funded research may slow and in some cases even stop due to necessary telework and lack of access to facilities and labs, the closing of public schools and daycare facilities for our children, the transition of teaching activities to on-line classes, and other family obligations. SMD understands this potential outcome of the current epidemic response and will work with the research community and its institutions to mitigate any impacts and to make plans, when possible, for a way forward. This situation will undoubtedly cause some inefficiencies, but we continue to be supportive of any research that can be done remotely."

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - March 23, 2020

Most of the agency remains at Stage 3 of NASA's Response Framework to COVID-19, with mandatory telework for all employees and limited exceptions for on-site work. Ames, Michoud and Stennis are at Stage 4 with personnel on-site to protect life and critical infrastructure. Recently, Glenn Research Center in Ohio and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City have also been elevated to Stage 4. Every precaution is being taken to safeguard the health of our workforce. Agency leadership is regularly evaluating mission-essential activities and determining what can safely proceed and what should be completed through telework. Please continue to stay in frequent contact with your supervisor and check the NASA People website regularly for updates.

White House Announces New Partnership to Unleash U.S. Supercomputing Resources to Fight COVID-19

"The White House announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world's most powerful high performance computing resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus. ... "We are pleased to lend NASA's supercomputing expertise to assist in the global fight against this pandemic. For more than six decades the agency has used its expertise to take on challenges that have benefited people worldwide in unexpected ways," said Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator."

NASA COVID-19 Community Update from Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen

"We know that progress on funded research may slow and in some cases even stop due to necessary telework and lack of access to facilities and labs, the closing of public schools and daycare facilities for our children, the transition of teaching activities to on-line classes, and other family obligations. SMD understands this potential outcome of the current epidemic response and will work with the research community and its institutions to mitigate any impacts and to make plans, when possible, for a way forward. This situation will undoubtedly cause some inefficiencies, but we continue to be supportive of any research that can be done remotely."

Boeing worker at Everett plant dies from coronavirus infection, Seattle Times

"The man's job was to oversee unfinished work that had traveled out from the factory to the flight line. He was also a shop steward in the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union. On Saturday, while he was still in intensive care, his brother posted a plea to Boeing on Facebook. "Boeing Everett plant, please close your doors and shut down," his brother wrote, adding that the man had worked at Boeing for 27 years. "My brother is on life support. Please pray for him and all affected by the virus," he concluded.In a subsequent post, he said his brother had died."

Boeing to Temporarily Suspend Puget Sound Production Operations in Response to Escalating COVID-19 Pandemic

"Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company's continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers."

COVID-19 Pandemic Management Course, Johns Hopkins

"As scientists, doctors, and governments try to get a grip on COVID-19, surgeon and partner of ES4P David Joyce, MD MBA, and Emergency Medical physician and former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski, MD, are partnering to offer a new online course on COVID-19 for healthcare providers. The course aims to go beyond improving providers' understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering critical advice on what providers can do to care for their patients while mitigating the risks of contracting and spreading the disease themselves."

Submit Your Questions for NASA's First "Ask the Administrator"

"Do you have a question about NASA's response to coronavirus (COVID-19)? Submit your questions and Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk, and Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk will answer them during a recorded video Q&A session. The question queue will be open until noon EDT Tuesday, March 24. The video will be posted online Wednesday, March 25, for the entire workforce to watch and we'll let you know as soon as it's available and where to watch it!"

Editorial: Why Coronavirus Cannot Kill Aviation, Aviation Week

"It is vital for governments, lawmakers and industry leaders to recognize that aviation will need help getting through such destructive upheaval. But in some cases, the optics will invite legitimate criticism. For example, Boeing has returned nearly $50 billion to its shareholders over the past five years while investing far less. Now it wants taxpayers to cough up tens of billions for a bailout? U.S. airlines are no better: They have sent 96% of free cash flow to shareholders over the last five years. And what about those airlines in Europe that should have been allowed to die long ago? Will they use this crisis as leverage for yet another government rescue?"

Trump says he is 'OK' with forbidding buybacks as condition of corporate bailouts, CNBC

"President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would not oppose barring companies that receive federal assistance during the coronavirus pandemic from conducting stock buybacks."

KSC Worker Confirmed with COVID-19, Talk of Titusville

"An employee with Jacob's Space Exploration Group, a subcontractor based at Kennedy Space Center, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. According to email sent by management on Sunday, March, the employee has been out on leave for over a week and was feeling well but no symptoms when they left for leave."

Keith's note: I have been hearing from NASA and contractor employees who are still working and considered to be "essential". "Essential" is a term used by the government and does not mean that other people are not "essential". That said, those people who have been deemed to have an "essential" role face the same risks, stresses, and concerns as the rest of us. This email from someone at KSC speaks very clearly to this issue. Perhaps NASA can respond to those people who cannot telework and must be onsite.

"Hi Keith,

I am a Contractor employee at KSC working on SLS. Could you do the Mission Essential Contractor Team at KSC a favor and ask the NASA Administrator a question. Since we are all concerned about the Corona virus and since every day at work we hear a Safety message why are we still working SLS at KSC. Seems kinda hypocritical. Close the NASA Centers and discontinue all work in an abundance of caution until we as a Country get through this. Safety first.


Keith's update: KSC Worker Confirmed with COVID-19, Talk of Titusville

The Parallels Between Space Missions And COVID-19 Isolation, Jack Stuster

Keith's note: Jack Stuster has been conducting studies for NASA on how crews live and work in space and the parallels that can be found with expeditions on Earth for decades. He has provided this commentary about confinement and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the parallels within his studies.

"Dear Keith: I have been asked recently by two German journalists for suggestions about how families and others might adapt to confinement and isolation in their homes in response to the current pandemic. As you know, I have studied conditions analogous to space stations and to expeditions to the Moon and Mars for nearly 40 years, and I studied life on the ISS during the 13-year Journals Flight Experiment. I have described the research in articles/papers, NASA technical reports, and a book, Bold Endeavors: Lessons from Polar and Space Exploration. I am offering the recommendations, below, and on the attached one-page document in hope that the information might be useful to your readers."

Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council Postponed

"The Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council, scheduled to take place on March 24th, 2020 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., has been postponed. A new date for the meeting will be determined."

NASA Leadership Assessing Mission Impacts of Coronavirus, NASA

"We are going to take care of our people. That's our first priority," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Technology allows us to do a lot of what we need to do remotely, but, where hands-on work is required, it is difficult or impossible to comply with CDC guidelines while processing spaceflight hardware, and where we can't safely do that we're going to have to suspend work and focus on the mission critical activities." The 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 leadership will continually assess all activities as the situation evolves."

NASA Stennis Space Center Site Status 20 March 2020

"Stennis Space Center is in Stage 4 for COVID-19 NASA leadership continues to make the health and safety of the Stennis workforce a top priority. Due to the rising number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the local area, and the number of self-isolation cases within our workforce, Stennis is moving into Stage 4 of our Agency coronavirus response framework effective Friday, March 20. While there is only one confirmed case at Stennis, this step is being taken to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 and protect you and your families. Access to Stennis during Stage 4 will be limited to personnel supporting activities necessary to protect life and critical infrastructure as identified by the resident agencies and SSC leadership."

NASA Administrator Bridenstine: March 19 Update on Agency Response to Coronavirus, NASA

"NASA leadership is determined to make the health and safety of its workforce its top priority as we navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. To that end, the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility and Stennis Space Center are moving to Stage 4 of the NASA Response Framework, effective Friday, March 20. ... NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware. The NASA and contractors teams will complete an orderly shutdown that puts all hardware in a safe condition until work can resume. Once this is complete, personnel allowed onsite will be limited to those needed to protect life and critical infrastructure."

ESA Mission Control Adjusts To Coronavirus Conditions, ESA

"Responsible for spacecraft orbiting Earth, the Sun and exploring the Solar System, teams at ESA's ESOC mission control deal with in-flight challenges every day, from faulty hardware, problematic software and hazardous space debris to computer viruses that could affect ground stations. So how do they keep missions flying when a viral pandemic puts the people of the Agency at risk?"

Keith's note: How are NASA (JSC, JPL, KSC, WFF), DoD, APL, SpaceX, Rockelab, Blue Origin, ULA etc working Coronavirus/COVID-19 social distancing into how they run their launches and missions?

NASA Ames Update: Update: Second Ames Employee Case Confirmed

"We have received notification that a second Ames employee has acquired COVID-19 illness. There is no indication that this second case is related to the first case. Based on the circumstances and elapsed time since the employee was on site (more than 19 days ago), we believe that there is no additional risk at the center."

NASA is Prepared for this Challenge, Jim Bridenstine

"Our nation is facing a challenging time amid this national health emergency. The well-being of you and your families remains the top priority for NASA leadership. While we know this situation presents a number of difficulties for our missions, we are confident there is no team better prepared for doing hard things. We have accomplished so many incredible feats as an agency. We put Americans on the Moon, landed on Mars (seven times!), launched hundreds of crewed and robotic missions into space, created life-changing technologies, transformed aviation and sustained human presence on a laboratory that flies 250 miles above Earth for nearly 20 years - just to name a few things that once were thought to be impossible."

Keith's note: As a biologist I cannot let this pandemic go by without paying close attention to the details. They are scary. If you are young the risk is less equally - perhaps more likely that you are going to be seriously sick if infected - and you will still able to spread COVID-19 to others. If you are in good health you will probably be OK. But if you have any - I repeat any - underlying physical issues and/or are a Boomer (or older) then you should be very afraid. The death risk goes up - well above Flu. Stock up on the essentials. Make sure you have an extra supply - and take - your meds. Become a hermit. If your spouse gets this - so will you. You can interact with others to your heart's content online for a few months. There is no treatment. There is no cure. Only prevention and common sense are available to you. This is survivable but you need to take responsibility for your own survival.

Our current federal government will fail you in this regard. Get used to it.

Be Mark Watney.

Hello from Italy. Your future is grimmer than you think., Washington Post

"Writing this from Italy, I am also writing to you from your own future. From our state of emergency, we have been watching the crisis unfold in the United States with a terrible sense of foreboding. Please stop waiting for others to tell you what to do; stop blaming the government for doing too much or too little. We all have actions we can take to slow the spread of the disease -- and ensuring that your own household has enough canned goods and cleaning supplies is not enough. You can do a lot more. You should do a lot more. Stay away from restaurants, gyms, libraries, movie theaters, bars and cafes, yes. But also: Don't invite people over for dinner, don't let your kids go on playdates, don't take them to the playground, don't let your teenagers out of your sight. They will sneak out with their friends, they will hold hands, they will share their drinks and food. If this seems too much, consider the following: We are not allowed to hold weddings or funerals. We can't gather to bury our dead. For us, it might be too late to avoid an incredible loss of life. But if you decide against taking actions because it seems inconvenient, or because you don't want to look silly, you can't say you weren't warned."

March 17 Update on NASA's Response to Coronavirus, NASA

"This evening, NASA leadership has decided to elevate all centers and facilities to Stage 3 of NASA's Response Framework. Effective immediately, all employees and contractors will move to mandatory telework until further notice. Mission-essential personnel will continue to be granted access onsite. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible if you have any questions."

"Shelter in Place" Guidance for Ames Community , NASA Ames

"In compliance with the Order of the Santa Clara County Health Officer, effective 12:01 a.m. PDT, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Ames Research Center is on mandatory telework for ALL personnel with the exception of limited personnel required to maintain safety and security of the center. All previously approved exceptions for work onsite are rescinded and new approvals will be required in order to gain access to the center."

COVID-19: Guiana Space Center suspends launch campaigns, Arianespace

"Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need to fully implement the measures decided by the French government, launch campaigns underway at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana have been suspended. These launch preparations will resume as soon as allowed by health conditions. This exceptional measure is designed to protect the health of employees and the local population, while also maintaining the security needed to prepare for scheduled launches. Arianespace, French space agency CNES and all companies involved at CSG are currently overseeing operations to place launchers and satellites in safe standby condition, in line with standard procedures."

NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge Cancels In-Person Competition; Virtual Awards to be Presented in May, NASA

"The safety and protection of the Rover Challenge student teams, our NASA workforce and all those supporting the competition is NASA's top priority. According to guidance of the Center for Disease Control and other federal agencies, traveling and gathering in large groups are heavily discouraged at this time. In an effort to comply with guidance and help restrict the spread of COVID-19, we regret that we must cancel this year's competition. However, some awards will still be given virtually, to reward the work that teams have already completed."

Statement on NASA Goddard's Coronavirus Prep Actions

"Out of an abundance of caution, Goddard has canceled all non-mission-essential visits to its facilities. Goddard also is closing its Visitor Centers at Greenbelt and at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, beginning Friday, March 13, as a means to be protective and encourage social distancing."

NASA Travel Guidance as of March 14, 2020

"The protection and care of our team is the top priority. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves, the agency is following a phased response based on conditions at, and in the vicinity of, each NASA facility. NASA leadership also is monitoring conferences to determine risk and will continue to provide guidance on attendance accordingly."

NASA JSC: Special: March 14 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

"The protection and care of the Johnson team is our top priority and critical to the success of our mission. While we do not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at Johnson as of today, March 14, out of an abundance of caution, the center is transitioning to Stage 2 of our response framework. Telework is strongly encouraged for employees who can work remotely. If you already have everything you need to work remotely, you can begin telework on Monday, March 16."

Update on NASA's Response to the Coronavirus

"As we navigate this difficult time, the protection and care of the NASA family continues to be our top priority and the key consideration as we make decisions on how to move forward. NASA leadership is coordinating closely with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and interagency partners in our nation's unified response to coronavirus (COVID-19) and regularly re-evaluating the conditions at each center. Your careful observance of recommendations is key to protecting our team and ensuring we accomplish our mission."

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to Close Temporarily Due to Threat of COVID-19

"Out of an abundance of extreme caution and in the best interest of our guests and crewmembers, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will temporarily be closed as of March 16, 2020 until further notice. During this closure guests will not be permitted onto visitor complex grounds. As always, the health and safety of our employees and guests is the highest priority for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Our goal is also to mitigate the spread of the virus."

Subject: MSFC - Mandatory Telework - Stage 3 Effective Immediately
Date: March 14, 2020 at 7:50:46 AM MDT

This is an emergency message from NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center. Effective immediately, MSFC has gone to mandatory telework, Stage 3. For additional details, please check the email sent by the MSFC Director, Jody Singer.

Statement By NASA Marshall Center Director Jody Singer

"On the evening of Friday, March 13, we received confirmation that one of our employees tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Contact tracing will begin immediately in order to identify and notify individuals who may have had significant contact with that employee. "Access to the center will be restricted to mission-essential personnel only, as defined in the response framework. More guidance will follow for those who do not have equipment to work from home or who work in labs or other facilities requiring similar technical equipment that is a fixed asset."

American Astronomical Society: COVID-19 and the 236th AAS Meeting

"In response to the increasing threat of COVID-19, the American Astronomical Society is looking into converting its 236th meeting, currently scheduled 31 May to 4 June in Madison, Wisconsin, from an on-site/in-person conference to a fully remote/virtual conference. ... While this is an extraordinarily difficult decision, we believe it is the right one to protect the health and welfare of our members, staff, vendors, and other meeting participants. If we can pull it off, holding a virtual AAS 236 would likely have positive long-term effects. Our Sustainability Committee has been wrestling with how to lower the carbon footprint of AAS meetings and has been encouraging the Society to experiment with ways of enabling remote access to some sessions. Until recently, every software product we explored for this purpose left a lot to be desired. Now, though, virtual conferencing technology appears to have proliferated, matured, and become more affordable. We are optimistic that AAS 236 could not only be successful as an all-digital conference, but also that it could serve as a trailblazer to a future of more inclusive and sustainable AAS meetings."

Space Symposium Postponed

Space Foundation Postpones 36th Space Symposium

"The Space Foundation issued a statement today announcing the 36th Space Symposium, previously scheduled for March 30 - April 2, 2020, has been postponed: "The Space Foundation is working with its partners, The Broadmoor, the City of Colorado Springs, and its members and other key stakeholders to identify future dates and details that will assemble the world's space community again in Colorado. "In the coming days, we will be issuing additional guidance about those steps and the identified path forward. We ask for your patience as that guidance is assembled and conveyed to our partners, attendees, the public, and the space community we are proud to serve."

Keith's note: From the White House: "The next meeting of the National Space Council, originally scheduled to take place on March 24th, 2020 at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, will now be held in Washington, D.C.

The meeting, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, will convene at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 24th, 2020. The meeting will be livestreamed, and additional details will be forthcoming."

ExoMars to Take Off for the Red Planet in 2022, not 2020

"In the frame of a dedicated meeting, ESA and Roscosmos heads Jan Wörner and Dmitry Rogozin agreed that further tests to the spacecraft with the final hardware and software are needed. In addition, the parties had to recognise that the final phase of ExoMars activities are compromised by the general aggravation of the epidemiological situation in European countries."

Coronavirus crisis hits ice-locked Arctic research expedition, Nature

"The coronavirus outbreak has reached the Arctic -- and is imperilling a massive international scientific project, after a team member tested positive for the virus. The mission, called MOSAiC, is operating from the German research vessel Polarstern, which has been intentionally frozen in Arctic sea ice since last October. From this ice-encrusted platform, a rotating cast of scientists and technicians are sampling the ice, atmosphere and ocean in an attempt to understand the intricacies of the rapidly changing Arctic climate. The team member who contracted the virus works on the airborne component of the expedition -- a key part that has now been delayed to protect those on board the ship. This part of the mission will use scientific aircraft to take measurements around Polarstern to provide context for those taken at the ship."

Boeing to freeze hiring, overtime on 737 MAX, virus impacts: sources, Reuters

"Boeing Co is freezing new hiring and overtime except in certain critical areas in efforts to preserve cash due to the coronavirus outbreaks and the 737 MAX grounding, people familiar the matter said on Wednesday. Layoffs or furloughs were also a "real possibility" but were seen as a separate, later action, one of the people said. A second industry source said job cuts were likely as the aviation industry is squeezed by plummeting travel demand and a safety ban on the 737 MAX after two fatal crashes hit the one-year mark."

The Official SATELLITE 2020 Statement

"In light of the DC Health Department's announcement today recommending gatherings of 1,000 or more people be postponed until March 31st, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center has decided to close this evening at the conclusion of our scheduled events. This impacts both the exhibit hall and conference sessions for Thursday, March 12th."

Coronavirus shaking up America's defense industry, Defense News

"Lockheed, Raytheon and Honeywell were among dozens of companies that pulled out of last month's Singapore Air Show, which is typically the largest defense trade show in Asia―and SXSW, a show AIA participates in, was cancelled. The two offer a glimpse into how fears of corona virus could impact other defense trade shows and conferences. "It felt like a ghost town. It definitely was a strange experience," Fanning said about the Singapore conference."

Keith's note: In response to the coronavirus pandemic the president just announced a 30 day ban on all travel (apparently including cargo) to the U.S. from Europe beginning at midnight Friday. As such one could expect a wide range of space community activities will be severely impacted.

Keith's 10 March update: I was able to listen in to the internal NASA webcast on Corona virus issues and live tweed as much as I could - you can see the tweets plus the questions submitted by NASA employees at @NASAwatch. You can check out the questions submitted and voted on here:!/dashboard

Keith's 10 March update: This Town Hall meeting will only be webcast internally at NASA.

Keith's 9 March note: NASA will have an agency-wide meeting on Tuesday 10 March at 12:00 pm Noon EST. The event will be streamed live within the agency. I am not sure if the public will be able to see it.

I was able to listen in to the internal NASA webcast on Corona virus issues and live tweed as much as I could - you can see the tweets plus the questions submitted by NASA employees at @NASAwatch

NASA Administrator Statement on Coronavirus Situation

"Last Friday's agencywide voluntary telework exercise was a good test of NASA's large-scale preparedness with no reported issues to the overall IT system. I've asked all NASA employees to continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency's Chief Health and Medical Officer, and if they have questions, don't hesitate to talk with their supervisor.

"You've heard the agency's leadership say the protection and care of our NASA team is the top priority and critical to the success of the agency's mission, and it's true. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves, we'll continue to closely monitor and coordinate with federal, state, and community officials to take any further appropriate steps to help safeguard the NASA family."

Boeing Statement on Employee Diagnosed with COVID-19

"Boeing is providing its full support to an employee at our Everett facility who has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is now in quarantine receiving the care and treatment necessary for their recovery. We have notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials. As a precaution, we've asked all coworkers of the employee who were in close contact to remain home to self-quarantine and self-monitor, and we've conducted a thorough cleaning of the work areas and common spaces."

"Dear Ames Personnel,

NASA's Ames Research Center will temporarily go to MANDATORY telework status effective immediately and until further notice. More guidance will follow for those who do not have equipment to work from home or who work in labs or other facilities requiring similar technical equipment that are fixed assets.

On Sunday, March 8, we received confirmation that an Ames employee tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). We believe the exposure at the center has been limited, but -- out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with NASA Headquarters and the NASA Chief Heath and Medical Officer in accordance to agency response plans -- Ames Research Center will temporarily go to a mandatory telework status until further notice.

Access to the center will be restricted to essential personnel only as required to safeguard life, property, and critical mission functions approved at the level of the associate center director. Limiting personnel at the center will allow Ames medical personnel and public health officials to determine potential contacts and assess areas that may require additional cleaning and mitigate potential exposure to center personnel.

The protection and care of the Ames family, their families, and the entire Ames community is our top priority and critical to the success of our mission.

The status of the center will be updated regularly through centerwide messages, the emergency notification system, and on the ARCSOS site at Please stay in close contact with your supervisor. I greatly appreciate your understanding, patience, and support.

Eugene Tu
Center Director"

Message From the Associate NASA Administrator: Coronavirus Update

"As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, I am updating you on behalf of the NASA leadership team regarding actions we are taking to respond to this serious and evolving situation. As always, the protection and care of our NASA team is the top priority and critical to the success of our mission.

. Friday, March 6, will be an agencywide telework day. The purpose of this exercise is to test our capabilities, resources, and preparedness for large-scale teleworking. Participation is optional and highly encouraged. Remember to take home your government-furnished computer, if you have one.

. A separate email will be sent later in the week with additional information about the agencywide telework day. The email will include guidance on use of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and virtual collaboration tools, and other helpful information. This is also an opportunity to ensure your home internet connection can support teleworking.

. Contractors should speak with their program manager and/or COR regarding telework eligibility and then they are required to follow company guidance/policy regarding telework, travel, and all other work activities. NASA will remain OPEN throughout this exercise."



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Coronavirus category from March 2020.

Coronavirus: February 2020 is the previous archive.

Coronavirus: April 2020 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.