Engineers integrate science instruments with the Landsat 9 spacecraft bus at a Northrop Grumman cleanroom in Gilbert, Arizona. Credit: Northrop. Grumman
PANDEMIC NEWS UPDATE: No Space Symposium in 2020; Landsat 9 delayed; American tightens mask rules; air travelers remain wary
By Cat Hofacker|August 19, 2020
Our weekly compendium of coronavirus news
The Space Foundation has rescheduled the 2020 Space Symposium for August 2021, the nonprofit Space Foundation announced today. Plans had called for a shorter event starting in late October. “Despite all of those efforts, it is clear to everyone that an in-person gathering will not be possible in 2020,” CEO Tom Zelibor said in a press release.
NASA has pushed the launch of the Landsat 9 Earth imaging satellite from April to September 2021, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director Dennis Andrucyk told attendees of a Maryland Space Business Roundtable webinar, held yesterday. “There have been some impacts because of covid in processing that spacecraft” at the Northrop Grumman cleanroom in Arizona, he said.
Effective today, American Airlines is refining its definition of an acceptable face covering to a “well-secured cloth or mask” made of a material “that prevents the discharge and release of respiratory droplets,” reads a press release. Newly prohibited face coverings include those that do not cover both the mouth and nose, masks made “with materials such as mesh or lace fabrics,” or clear plastic face shields worn without an additional face covering.
As of July, New York and New Jersey had seen the biggest reduction in travel among U.S. states, according to an analysis by the trade group Airlines for America. Specifically, 70% fewer flights took off from New York last month compared to July 2019, while departures from New Jersey decreased 67%.
About 50% of U.S. travelers who flew at least once a year before the pandemic said they are currently not comfortable with air travel, according to a Gallup web survey of about 10,000 travelers in July.