NASA estimates that COVID-19 will cost the agency perhaps up to 3 billion dollars in addition to delays, more than a year after the pandemic killed nearly 3 million people around the world, according to a report issued by the Office of the Inspector General of NASA. , Agency staff gathered the impact of the pandemic on dozens of projects, ranging from aircraft development to space station missions to new spacecraft for planetary science.
According to the American “Space” website, the report indicated that the James Webb Space Telescope, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, and the Space Launch System missile, were particularly severely affected. Likewise, the Orion crew capsule and PACE faced particular difficulties.
The top-line estimate of the cost of these delays and challenges across NASA is around $ 3 billion, yet NASA will not be able to determine the full impact of the pandemic on its programs and projects until after COVID-19 subsides.
In addition to the cost impact, the launch dates of many NASA missions have been delayed between one and 10 months.
The report includes individual analyzes of 18 different agency projects, researching the specific impacts of COVID-19 and highlighting budget and timeline issues resulting from the pandemic and the public health measures that have been implemented to slow its spread. “.
Some of these challenges came to projects that have long struggled with timelines, and the pandemic forced NASA to delay the launch of its James Webb space telescope again, pushing the target launch date from March 2021 to October 31, but Webb is not the only one facing delays.
The agency’s next major space telescope launch, the Romanian Nancy Grace Space Telescope, will also be delayed by about six months, from December 2025 to June 2026, due to contractor delivery delays and delayed delivery of government equipment.
The report emphasized that the agency will face more delays and costs in launching, given the continuing uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic, and NASA will continue to experience the impacts on its major programs and projects.