All work on the MAVEN spacecraft set to launch towards Mars in November may possibly be stopped until the shutdown is over. In the unlikely event that the shutdown lasts longer than a few days, the processing flow of the orbiter may cause the launch date to slip. If the launch date slips beyond the close of the launch window….
A $650 million dollar mission will have to be put into storage until 2016, and the overall science output of the vehicle will be reduced significantly because of the solar cycle.
Also, NASA-ran visitor centers will close. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Virginia Air and Space Center, INFINITY Science Center, ,Space Center Houston, and the Great Lakes Science Center, although official NASA visitor centers, are run by non-government companies and will therefor stay open. The visitor centers at Wallops Flight Facility, Goddard Space Flight Center. Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will close for the duration of the shutdown, since they are all federally-funded.
Of the 18,250 who work at NASA, a little more than 16,000 will be furloughed.
Here in the office, we’ve loaded webpages that tell visitors the site is no longer in service, and all of our social media accounts are scheduled to go offline at 11:59 pm. All electronics are to be encrypted, shutdown, and put into locked areas.
I guess it’s time to whip out the Civil Defense helmet and bunker down for the duration.