SpaceX’s Elon Musk says he is examined constructive for COVID-19 on eve of NASA astronaut launch


With SpaceX on the eve of launching 4 astronauts to the Worldwide Area Station for NASA in a historic flight, CEO Elon Musk has introduced that he has acquired combined outcomes from current assessments for the novel coronavirus..

Musk made the announcement on Twitter early today (Nov. 13). It isn’t but clear what, if something, these outcomes would possibly imply for SpaceX’s Crew-1 launch with NASA, presently scheduled to raise off from the company’s Kennedy Area Middle in Florida tomorrow evening at 7:49 p.m. EST (0049 GMT on Nov. 15). NASA has been cautious about crew well being since lengthy earlier than COVID-19 burst on the scene and has directed company staff to work remotely as a lot as attainable to gradual the illness’s unfold.

“When anyone assessments constructive for COVID right here on the Kennedy Area Middle and throughout NASA, it’s our coverage for that individual to quarantine and self-isolate, so we anticipate that that will probably be going down,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine mentioned throughout a information convention at present when requested about tweets wherein Musk said he had received both positive and negative tests. Bridenstine mentioned he had talked to Musk two days in the past, earlier than the testing subject arose.

Stay updates: SpaceX’s Crew-1 astronaut launch for NASA
NASA urges COVID warning for spectators of SpaceX Crew-1 launch

“We’re trying to SpaceX to do any contact-tracing that’s acceptable,” Bridenstine mentioned. “After all if there are adjustments that must be made, we’ll have a look at these. However it’s very early proper now to know if any adjustments are mandatory at this level.”

Bridenstine emphasised that he’s unaware of any contact between Musk and the 4 astronauts scheduled to experience Crew-1. NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to stay in area for six and a half months, dwelling and dealing on the Worldwide Area Station.

When requested whether or not the launch could be delayed if any contact between Musk and crewmembers was recognized, Bridenstine declined to say. In line with Steve Stich, program supervisor for NASA’s Industrial Crew Program, talking on Oct. 28, the crew entered “delicate quarantine,” after they may nonetheless stay at dwelling with household, the weekend of Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 and was scheduled to enter a extra stringent quarantine on Oct. 31.

Associated: SpaceX’s Crew-1 astronaut mission in images

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi go to their Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed “Resilience,” on Nov. 9, 2020. (Picture credit score: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

“There’s rather a lot to be taught,” he mentioned. “Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they need to not have had contact with anyone. They need to be in good condition.”

When SpaceX’s first crewed flight for NASA, dubbed Demo-2, first tried launch on Could 27, Musk visited NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken with Bridenstine after the spaceflyers donned their fits and earlier than they headed to the launch pad. Musk and Bridenstine wore masks and stood at a distance from the astronauts guided by a cordon. That launch was scrubbed attributable to climate; Musk didn’t go to them earlier than their profitable launch on Could 30, though he was seen maskless (as had been with others) within the launch management heart at Kennedy Area Middle.

Whether or not Musk now has COVID-19 is unclear.

“Was examined for covid 4 instances at present,” Elon Musk wrote in a tweet posted within the wee hours at present. “Two assessments got here again damaging, two got here again constructive. Similar machine, similar check, similar nurse. Fast antigen check from BD.”

In his tweet, Musk additionally wrote that the outcomes indicated “one thing extraordinarily bogus,” however no diagnostic check, particularly no fast check, is ideal. Each testing technique for each an infection will produce a sure variety of false constructive and false damaging detections: some variety of constructive assessments when there isn’t a an infection and damaging outcomes when there may be an infection.

For the precise check Musk used, false positives are extra probably when COVID-19 an infection charges are low and false negatives are extra probably when illness charges are excessive, in response to supplies concerning the check revealed by the Meals and Drug Administration. That doc additionally notes that the check is much less dependable at detecting infections when a pattern is taken greater than 5 days into the sickness.

In separate tweets, Musk wrote that he has had “Gentle sniffles & cough & slight fever previous few days,” and no symptoms beyond those typical of a cold, so it is not clear how far into the an infection he would have been when the examined samples had been gathered. Generally, folks start displaying signs about 5 days after publicity and are infectious for a day or two earlier than displaying signs.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks with NASA personnel after the profitable launch of Demo-2 on Could 30, 2020, within the Launch Management Middle at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle.  (Picture credit score: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Musk additionally wrote that he’s getting PCR diagnostic tests as properly however doesn’t but have these outcomes. Though a polymerase chain response check is usually extra correct, it can nonetheless produce false negatives and extra hardly ever, false positives. 

Testing is a public well being instrument, not a certificates of non-public security; outcomes are important in serving to officers grasp the standing of an area outbreak. However the person response to a damaging check varies. “If an individual has not had any identified publicity to COVID-19 and isn’t experiencing signs, there isn’t a must quarantine if a check is damaging,” in response to consultants on the Johns Hopkins College College of Public Well being. “If signs are current however an individual has a damaging COVID-19 check, that individual ought to nonetheless comply with dwelling isolation suggestions.” Isolation suggestions presently name for staying at dwelling for 10 days with no contact with the skin world, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention

As of publication, SpaceX didn’t reply to a request for remark about Musk’s present location, current security measures and any potential impacts to the launch.

You’ll be able to watch SpaceX’s Crew-1 launch for NASA stay right here at on Saturday starting at 3:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT).

E-mail Meghan Bartels at or comply with her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here