No less than 132 workers at SpaceX’s Southern California headquarters examined constructive for the coronavirus, in response to info posted on a Los Angeles County web site. It was the very best variety of instances at the moment reported amongst non-public corporations within the county.
The outbreak erupted as a wave of infections unfold all through the nation, pushed primarily by the Omicron virus variant, and in addition because the non-public area firm based and led by Elon Musk is conducting a speedy sequence of rocket launches at websites in California and Florida.
Some 6,000 workers on the firm’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., construct and manufacture SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon capsules. The rockets are the dominant launch car utilized by non-public corporations and governments to place satellites in orbit, and the capsules are NASA’s major car for carrying astronauts to the Worldwide House Station. The corporate’s mission management room, the place engineers are continuously proven throughout reside video streams of launches, seated behind pc screens sporting masks, can be in Hawthorne.
The outbreak on the headquarters, reported earlier by The Los Angeles Occasions based mostly on knowledge posted Sunday by Los Angeles County’s public well being division, comes throughout a busy time for the corporate.
SpaceX broke an organization report on Sunday for the quickest turnaround time between two missions, launching a Turkish satellite tv for pc to area from Kennedy House Heart in Florida simply 18 hours after launching 52 of the corporate’s Starlink web satellites to orbit on Saturday from Vandenberg House Drive Base in California. One other mission from Florida is scheduled Tuesday morning, sending a cargo capsule filled with provides and analysis to the area station for NASA, although native climate seems unfavorable.
SpaceX didn’t return a request for remark.
Throughout an earlier section of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Musk, SpaceX’s founder and chief government, balked at restrictions in California meant to curb the unfold of the coronavirus. In Might final yr, Mr. Musk, additionally the chief government of Tesla, the electrical carmaker, defied a public well being order by resuming manufacturing on the firm’s Fremont manufacturing unit regardless of county restrictions that may have prevented workers from working.
On the day after Thanksgiving this yr, Mr. Musk stoked fears of chapter for SpaceX in emails despatched to workers, urging them to work by way of engineering challenges associated to the event of Starship, the corporate’s next-generation rocket.
The pandemic has continuously disrupted spaceflight actions, costing NASA practically $3 billion from delays, in response to an inside report, and a European-Russian mission to Mars needed to be postponed till 2022 early in 2020. Nonetheless, SpaceX has sustained its operations all through the pandemic, together with resuming astronaut launches from American soil in Might 2020.
Mr. Musk himself examined constructive for the virus in November 2020 and was precluded from attending a launch of 4 astronauts to area for NASA from the Kennedy House Heart.