Cosmic Consequences of the American Shatdaun

    The signing by Donald Trump of the interim budget stopped a record 35-day shatdown of US government agencies. The decision is a temporary one, and after February 15, the shutter may return. The suspension of government services had a serious impact on the life of American society, and the space industry did not stand aside. > 95% of NASA employees on unpaid leave, delays in launches, issuing licenses, and even memorial events are only part of the consequences of the shutdown.

    Photo: Xinhua

    Silence in NASA

    Since NASA is a government agency, it has experienced the full complexity of its work suspension problems. Estimated number of employees sent on unpaid leave, up to 96%. And this is a complete impossibility to work, the mailing list before closing directly says :
    During shatdaunu you are on unpaid leave. At this time, you can not work in NASA as a free volunteer. You do not have to appear in the workplace, you can not work at home or in another place and participate in events held by non-NASA, in its official status.
    Civil servants, judging by the act signed by Trump, the salary lost during the shatdaun must be paid, but contractors (contractors) are unlikely to receive compensation for forced simple compensation. Delayed wages put many in a difficult position - on January 18, Ames Ams Research Center NASA received humanitarian aid . Nearly about a hundred people held a protest demanding to stop the shatdaun.

    Photo: Anda Chu / Bay Area News Group

    In some cases, other organizations had to allocate their funding. For example, the Smithsonian Institution allocated funds for the operation of the Chandra X-ray telescope until mid-March, but in an abbreviated form, only for critical operations.

    For important events, the New Horizons flight of the most distant celestial body visited by Earth probes and the OSIRIS-REx launch into orbit around Bennu asteroid, alternative broadcasting was prepared in case NASA TV was unavailable, but in both cases they found the means. But the memorial events dedicated to the memory of the Apollo 1 catastrophe and the Challenger and Columbia shuttles had to be postponed indefinitely.

    Large organizations can not stop and resume work instantly - NASA went to shatdown from December 22 to December 29, and now for some time it will take a return to work. In the latest newsletterIt tells about potential problems in the field of IT - during the time of the shatdaun, some of the passes have expired, someone has outdated passwords, and somewhere their licenses have expired. Losses in people could incur technical support departments.

    The date of the first unmanned launch of the manned ship Dragon 2 remains uncertain. News agencies reported conflicting information about how much the shatdown affected the delay, but regardless of whether it is the main cause or technical problems, the date is announced as "February" without clarification .

    Particular problems

    A shot from the Exos Airspace broadcast

    Private companies also came under attack - they depend on information or licenses provided by government agencies. Two problems were “caught” by Exos Airspace, which wanted to launch a reusable SORGE reusable suborbital rocket in early January . The launch on January 5 did not take place due to the fact that it was not possible to renew the license at the FAA commercial space transportation office. It would be possible to work under the old license, but it contained very strict safety criteria for the maximum permissible wind. And then, in general, the opportunity to receive data in the wind at high altitudes from the NOAA meteorological agency was lost, which postponed the launch from February 9 to at least March.

    Photo: Vector

    Rocket launch delayedVector-R , the developers of which still cannot get an FAA license. However, the launch date is unknown, and they may well try to get it before February 15 without major postponements.

    The New Zealand-American Rocket Lab needs a new license - a launch for DARPA, scheduled for the end of February, will be conducted in a different orbit and requires a new security analysis.

    Image of Nevada Museum of Art

    Even in space, the consequences of the shatdaun were revealed. The Kubsat Orbital Reflector, created by the Nevada Museum of Art, was successfully launched by passing loads on December 3 and had to unfurl the reflective film to become visible for observation with the naked eye. But the Federal Communications Commission askedMuseum to deploy the reflector only after special permission. However, there was a shutdown, the FCC became unavailable for communication, and permission can now be obtained only after the resumption of the work of state agencies. The satellite is still in good condition, but how long the FCC will take to fully return to work and issue a permit is unclear.


    Fortunately, the shutdown was unable to freeze all space projects. For example, on January 23, Blue Origin successfully conducted a new suborbital test launch of New Shepard, and before the first flight of suborbital tourists, there are already a few.

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