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, coronavirus.gov, 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.