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SpaceX's next launch delayed by coronavirus, cases found at HQ: Reports

Following two positive coronavirus cases at the company's HQ in California, SpaceX is starting to take action.
Following two positive coronavirus cases at the company's HQ in California, SpaceX is starting to take action. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX's next launch has been postponed by international travel restrictions imposed because of the growing coronavirus pandemic (opens in new tab). This news comes as two workers at the company's headquarters tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Following SpaceX's latest Starlink launch (opens in new tab) which, despite an anomaly, successfully placed 60 satellites in orbit, the company's next launch will be delayed. SpaceX's next launch was set to liftoff on March 30 with the Argentine radar satellite SAOCOM 1B on board. However, travel restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus mean that Argentine personnel cannot travel to the Florida launch site to ensure the satellite is ready for launch, according to SpaceNews (opens in new tab). In response, the launch has been delayed. 

But SpaceX (opens in new tab)also faces coronavirus threats closer to home. The company announced that at least one employee and one health care provider at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC (opens in new tab)

Related: Coronavirus prevention measures take their toll on astronomy
Updates:
The coronavirus pandemic impacts on space exploration

In response, SpaceX employees has sent some employees home to complete a 14-day quarantine to see if they also contracted the novel virus, according to the CNBC report (opens in new tab). Additionally, One Medical, which provides health services on-site at the headquarters and employees the second person who tested positive, has asked that all of their personnel who feel symptoms of the disease stay at home and get tested immediately.

In addition to the quarantines imposed on some employees, SpaceX has been taking other measures to protect employees, employees and their families told CNBC. The company has made its own hand sanitizer and has been handing out personal protective equipment (personal protective equipment includes things like masks and gloves).

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.