Despite the global coronavirus pandemic, SpaceX has managed to avoid the impact of the outbreak on launch plans. Just last week, the company successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites and appears to be offering NASA its first commercial crew flight as planned in mid-to-late May.
On Tuesday, however, the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Force confirmed that the SpaceX launch mission scheduled for March 30 with a Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was postponed “indefinitely” because of the current coronavirus crisis. Vandenberg Air Force Base in California declared a public health emergency over the weekend, and although there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases at the base, the Air Force, in addition to taking additional precautions to protect the safety of those who must remain on the ground, restricts access to basic personnel and provides only basic services.
SpaceX’s launch and schedule will inevitably be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and NASA has had to suspend some of its ongoing priorities, including the development of the Artemis program’s deep space exploration spacecraft and its James Webb telescope project. While the launch of commercial units is continuing, NASA has been providing an update on the escalating measures to ensure the safety of its personnel and the public.