Two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut are scheduled to blast off on April 9 for the International Space Station for six months as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps Earth. They are spending their final weeks on Earth in quarantine.
U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy on Monday said in a video from quarantine that we are ready to go, we are healthy, we’ve been tested very well with the medical teams. He said that we’ll be watching from space and we’re very curious to come home in October and see what the world looks like at that time.
“As you well know, over this last month, the situation keeps changing on a daily basis for the worse, our hearts go out to all the people over the world that are dealing with this crisis,” he added.
NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz said: “Even in ordinary times astronauts go through a ‘health stabilization’ process before launching that includes two weeks in quarantine to ensure they “aren’t sick or incubating an illness when they get to the space station,”
Due to corona virus pandemic, the Expedition 63 crew, launching from a pad in Kazakhstan, will depart Earth without much of the usual fanfare at the Baikonur cosmodrome and ceremonies in Moscow because the world is going through the pandemic and the world attempts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease through social distancing and citywide lockdowns.
More than 375,000 people worldwide have infected with corona virus and more than 16,000 have died.
The space station has continuously staffed astronauts for nearly 20 years, serving as a test bed for an array of scientific research including studies to better understand the human immune system and micro-gravity medical experiments for vital uses on Earth.