Astronauts already in "quarantine bubble" as NASA adapts to coronavirus

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Only "mission-essential" personnel are allowed to work at NASA field centers — everyone else must work from home.
With the exception of "mission-essential" personnel, NASA ordered its civil service workforce at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Johnson Space Center in Houston and other field centers across the nation to begin mandatory work from home Wednesday to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken are continuing their training for launch in May aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon commercial crew ship — the first launch of NASA astronauts on a U.S. spacecraft in nearly a decade. But they told CBS News they are taking every precaution possible to protect themselves, their families and support personnel.

"We just have to be smart about what we do and how we do it and follow the protocols that our flight surgeons and medical community have set forth," Hurley said. "We are going to do the right thing as best we can. We're going to try to continue to train as best we can. We're going to do the right things and hopefully arrive at the launch pad healthy when we actually do launch."

SpaceX

Behnken said he and Hurley already were following health stabilization guidelines in place for crews training for an upcoming flight and both astronauts are "going to be using NASA transportation to try to minimize our exposure as we as we fly out to California and then onto Florida over the next few weeks."

"We're kind of already in a quarantine bubble that includes the two of us and of course, by extension, our immediate families as well," he said. "We'll be leading up to launch kind of with similar precautions. It's not a lot different than what we would do for a crew that was going to launch on a Soyuz out of Baikonur (Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan), or what we did back when we launched on space shuttles."

For shuttle launches, family members typically flew to Florida to watch their loved ones rocket away in person. For Hurley and Behnken, that's not a sure thing given the exponential rise in coronavirus cases and increasingly strict efforts to…
William Harwood
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