March 20, 2020 / 1:18 AM / 13 days ago

Coronavirus deals blow to NASA's 2024 return-to-moon plan

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - The coronavirus outbreak dealt a blow to NASA’s plans to return Americans to the moon by 2024, as the space agency chief on Thursday ordered the temporary closure of two rocket production facilities after an employee tested positive for the respiratory illness.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement he was shutting down the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the Stennis Space Center in nearby Hancock County, Mississippi, due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the region. (Reporting by Joey Roulette in Washington; Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler)

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