March 24 Update on NASA Response to Coronavirus

Dear NASA family,

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. 

Mission-Essential Work

Last week, NASA leadership completed the first agencywide assessment of what work can be performed remotely by employees at home, mission-essential work that must be performed on-site, and on-site work that will be paused. You can find the release here.

We are working closely with center directors, contractors and our partners to analyze this evolving situation to ensure we are taking the right steps for our workforce.

What We Can Do

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.

For more than six decades, NASA has used its expertise to take on challenges that have benefited people worldwide in unexpected ways. Leadership across the agency is looking at how we can use our unmatched expertise and capabilities to help in the national response to COVID-19. We are coordinating an agencywide effort to see how NASA can help and we will be providing more details in the days to come.   

Changes at Centers

Following local, state and federal guidance, and taking into account local conditions, we have moved the following centers and facilities to Stage 4 of NASA’s Response Framework:

  • Glenn Research Center in Ohio
  • Plum Brook Station in Ohio
  • Armstrong Flight Research Center in California
  • Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia
  • Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York
  • Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who also reported its first case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19.

Two facilities will remain at Stage 4 after reporting new coronavirus cases, Michoud Assembly Facility reporting its first employee testing positive for COVID-19, and Stennis Space Center recording a second case of a member of the NASA family with the virus. Kennedy Space Center will remain at stage 3, one member of the workforce that has tested positive but given our mandatory telework policy the individual had not been on site for over a week prior to symptoms. For an updated list of the status of each of NASA’s facilities visit NASA People.

At Stage 4, mandatory telework is in effect for all personnel, with the exception of limited personnel required for mission-essential work and to maintain the safety and security of the center.

NASA leadership continues to monitor developments 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. If at any point, as was demonstrated many times last week, we do not feel comfortable with the work conditions, we will not hesitate to temporarily suspend work. Mission-essential work is routinely reevaluated to determine if there is not another way to safely complete the work.

Ask the Administrator

This week, I will be joined by Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk and Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk to answer your questions on NASA’s response to COVID-19 during a recorded Q&A. We’ve collected your submitted questions for the “March 25 Ask the Administrator” event, and you’ll get an email Wednesday, March 25, letting you know when the video is available and where to watch it.

Your resilience and determination to continue the mission during this unprecedented challenge is worthy of our nation’s gratitude. I am grateful to be a part of this tremendous team as we navigate this difficult time together.

Ad astra,


Helpful Links:

  • NASA Guidance: Please continue to check NASA People for resources and updates on the agency’s response to COVID-19.
  • COVID-19: For more information about COVID-19 please visit the CDC website.
  • Symptom tracker: A guide to help make decisions and seek appropriate care via CDC’s COVID-19 self-checker
  • Rumor Control: To prevent incorrect information from spreading, FEMA has put up a website to help dispel myths about COVID-19.
  • 15 Days to Stop the Spread: The White House has provided guidance to Americans on how we can slow the spread of the disease during this critical period.


Update on NASA’s Response to Coronavirus

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.

The change at Stennis was made due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community around the center, the number of self-isolation cases within our workforce there, and one confirmed case among our Stennis team.  While there are no confirmed cases at Michoud, the facility is moving to Stage 4 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the local area, in accordance with local and federal guidelines.

Mandatory telework is in effect for NASA personnel at both facilities until further notice. Additionally, all travel is suspended. These measures are being taken to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our communities.

Access to Stennis and Michoud will be limited to personnel required to maintain the safety and security of the center, as approved by agency leadership and the resident agencies. All previously approved exceptions for onsite work are rescinded and new approvals will be required in order to gain access to the center.

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.

We realize there will be impacts to NASA missions, but as our teams work to analyze the full picture and reduce risks we understand that our top priority is the health and safety of the NASA workforce.

I ask all members of the NASA workforce to stay in close contact with your supervisor and check the NASA People website regularly for updates. Also, in these difficult times, do not hesitate to reach out to the NASA Employee Assistance Program, if needed.

I will continue to say, so none of us forget – there is no team better prepared for doing hard things. Take care of yourself, your family, and your NASA team.

Ad astra,


NASA is Prepared for this Challenge

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.

Our Mission Continues

Coronavirus (COVID-19) will continue to test our agency’s ability to bend but not break under stress. I am convinced that we are uniquely equipped for this time of heightened need to collaborate and communicate. Teams across the agency are well-practiced in responding to mission contingencies and reacting to unforeseen challenges.

For example, Ames Research Center in California was recently elevated to Stage 4 of NASA’s Response Framework, in adherence to the local government’s “shelter-in-place” order. Thanks to the leadership of Ames Center Director Eugene Tu, NASA’s mission continues with work on the supercomputer and ensuring advancement in mission-critical work while ensuring the safety of our employees.

As of today, the coronavirus has not significantly affected NASA’s operations. Preparations continue for the Space Launch System Green Run tests, upcoming launches of the Mars Perseverance rover mission, NASA’s Commercial Crew flight to the International Space Station, and construction of our James Webb Space Telescope targeted for launch next year. We will continue to communicate major changes throughout this situation.

Take Care of Each Other

Your efforts to follow the Administration’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread plan, as well as state and local guidelines, demonstrate NASA’s desire to be responsible citizens and good members of our communities. I encourage you to visit the federal government’s newly launched website,, to stay informed about the outbreak. This website lists the many ways to protect yourself and help you take the appropriate steps if you think you are sick.

Lastly, many of us are facing a unique challenge as we work to continue our mission: how to supervise young children while working from home. There probably isn’t one magic solution (if you discover it, please share it with the rest of us!), but the NASA Kids’ Club website may offer a few minutes of respite. You also can satisfy their curious young minds with all the great videos on NASA’s Youtube channel, particularly the new #AskNASA videos.

Thank you all for the extra measures you are doing to keep yourself safe and still fulfill our mission. Please continue to check the NASA People website often for updates, however, all emergency notifications will continue to be sent by email. While our progress as a team might be harder to visualize when teleworking from different locations, each of our individual efforts will, all together, propel our agency forward. I am confident NASA will emerge from this stronger and more unified as one team than ever before.

Ad astra,


March 17 Update on NASA’s Response to Coronavirus

Agency leadership continues to monitor developments regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) around the nation. We are closely following the advice of health professionals and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to keep our workforce safe. Implementing best practices early and quickly will increase the likelihoods of better outcomes.

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.

Although a limited amount of employees have tested positive for COVID-19, it is imperative that we take this pre-emptive step to thwart further spreading of the virus among the workforce and our communities. A list of collaboration tools and information supporting telework is available on NASA’s Remote Collaboration Services webpage.

I strongly encourage you and your families to follow all local, state and federal guidelines to stay healthy and to help slow the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website lists many resources available if you need help, specific state health websites can be found here. Additionally, I urge all NASA employees to follow President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, announced yesterday afternoon. You can find these 15 Day guidelines on

Agency leadership will continue to monitor the rapidly-evolving risks COVID-19 poses to our workforce. You should anticipate continued frequent communication from your center director, myself and others. Up-to-date agency announcements and guidelines are available on the NASA People website, please check it often.

NASA’s early and thoughtful actions in coordination with our country’s unified response to this health emergency is an incredible display of national solidarity. Thank you for your vigilance and flexibility. I am confident your diligence and commitment will ensure our mission will continue. Please make certain you are giving the appropriate attention to your health and that of your family.

Ad astra,


Update on NASA’s Response to 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.

As you are aware, Ames Research Center in California was elevated to Stage 3 of NASA’s Response Framework after an onsite case of COVID-19 was confirmed on March 8. We recently received confirmation that an employee at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has tested positive for COVID-19. As with Ames – in consultation with Marshall Center Director Jody Singer, NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk, and in accordance to agency response plans ­– Marshall has been elevated to Stage 3 and is in mandatory telework status, with restricted access to the center until further notice.

While we do not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any other NASA center as of today, March 14, out of an abundance of caution, all other NASA centers are transitioning to Stage 2 of our response framework. Center directors have been in contact with their employees about this status change and steps moving forward.

In Stage 2, telework is strongly encouraged for employees who can work remotely. Take home your laptop computer, power cord, NASA badge, and any other equipment you need to work effectively from an alternate location, as well as essential personal items you may need. Stay in regular contact with your supervisor. Travel that is not mission-essential, as defined in the response framework, will be limited agencywide.

More information on leave and telework is available on the NASA People website and a list of collaboration tools and information on VPN also is available online.

If you are performing mission-essential work on center, do not go to work if you feel sick. Everyone should take extra precautions to protect themselves and others. Please continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency’s chief health and medical officer, and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to talk with your supervisor.

As the 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. Please check the NASA People website regularly for additional guidance.

The vigilance our workforce has displayed in our response to coronavirus is remarkable and has placed our agency in a position of strength as we confront this national emergency. Thank you for all you are doing to care for the health of our workforce and keeping the mission going. We will get through this together and continue to accomplish amazing things for our country and all of humanity. Please take care of yourselves and your families.

Ad astra,