SpaceX’s next launch has been postponed by international travel restrictions imposed because of the growing coronavirus pandemic. This news comes as two workers at the company’s headquarters tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Following SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch which, despite an anomaly, successfully placed 60 satellites in orbit, the company’s next launch will be delayed. SpaceX’s next launch was set to liftoff on March 30 with the Argentine radar satellite SAOCOM 1B on board. However, travel restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus mean that Argentine personnel cannot travel to the Florida launch site to ensure the satellite is ready for launch, according to SpaceNews. In response, the launch has been delayed.
But SpaceXalso faces coronavirus threats closer to home. The company announced that at least one employee and one health care provider at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.
In response, SpaceX employees has sent some employees home to complete a 14-day quarantine to see if they also contracted the novel virus, according to the CNBC report. Additionally, One Medical, which provides health services on-site at the headquarters and employees the second person who tested positive, has asked that all of their personnel who feel symptoms of the disease stay at home and get tested immediately.
In addition to the quarantines imposed on some employees, SpaceX has been taking other measures to protect employees, employees and their families told CNBC. The company has made its own hand sanitizer and has been handing out personal protective equipment (personal protective equipment includes things like masks and gloves).