The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on space exploration programs is being closely followed. Earlier this month, for example, the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that the launch of the second ExoMars mission is being postponed to 2022, in part because of the pandemic.
The European Space Agency also said Tuesday that it is putting eight of its spacecraft into hibernation as it scales down operations during the coronavirus outbreak.
NASA has also temporarily suspended work on the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope in California due to the coronavirus, putting its spring 2021 target launch date in jeopardy.
On Thursday, United Launch Alliance is scheduled to launch the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite for the U.S. Space Force atop an Atlas V 551 rocket. The two-hour launch window at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41 starts at 2:57 p.m. ET.
The launch will complete the Space Force’s constellation of AEHF satellites, according to United Launch Alliance.
As of Wednesday morning, at least 425,000 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, more than 55,000 of which are in the U.S. The disease has accounted for at least 18,000 deaths around the world, including more than 800 people in the U.S.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia and the Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers