Coronavirus COVID-19 impact on the space sector

Coronavirus COVID-19 global map. Credit: John Hopkins University.

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading globally and its effects are being felt globally. What does this mean for the space sector?

It’s still too early to say what the effects will be on the space sector. Certainly some events are being cancelled and some people are working from home.

In this update we’ll focus on what we know so far.

Canadian Space Agency status

SpaceQ contacted the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to ask if they were postponing or cancelling any events, what the policy was regarding employees with respect to COVID-19 including should it any cases be reported at the any of the agency facilities.

The CSA has not reported any COVID-19 cases and offered the following statement based on our questions:

As always, the health and safety of our employees is our top priority. The Canadian Space Agency is complying with all Government of Canada and public health guidelines related to COVID-19. At the present time, the CSA does not happen to be hosting events this week. Future events will be evaluated based on Government of Canada guidelines as the situation warrants.

We are working in close collaboration with our counterparts in various departments and public health agencies to monitor the situation continuously and take action as necessary to protect our employees. We have also undertaken an internal awareness campaign to provide our employees with helpful tips to protect themselves and their communities against the spread of the virus.

Like most large organizations, the CSA has a business continuity management program that covers contingencies for all our centres to ensure that the Canadian public continues to benefit from essential services.

The statement is inline with what you would expect from a government agency. Just the basic facts, little on details, including what the “business continuity management program” entails.

Events

At this point in Canada there has been little disruption to space events. The ones we’ve contacted so far are monitoring the situation but haven’t made any changes yet.

Women in Space Conference (May – CSA HQ Saint-Hubert) – The organizers are considering postponing the conference until possibly late summer, early fall.

CASI ASTRO 2020 (May – Toronto) – Is still a go.

AIxSpace (June – Montreal) – Is still a go.

GeoIgnite (June – Ottawa) – Is still a go.

Collision Conference (June – Toronto) – Moved online.

Other events in the US, Europe and Asia:

  • Geo Connect Asia (Singapore) – Postponed to 2021
  • Esri Developer Summit (US) – Moved Online
  • GeoHab 2020 (Italy) – Postponed

NASA

NASA has been preparing for its worked to telework, at least those that can. There are some jobs that require people to be onsite. Last week they held a telework drill.

One NASA centre, the Ames Research Center in northern California has already implemented a mandatory Telework as one employee has tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Today NASA will hold an agency-wide streamed meeting at 12:00 p.m. ET. The stream will not be public.

Further updates

You can keep up to date on our stories on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 by bookmarking the following page:

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

Leave a Reply