As Covid-19 spreads across the globe, it’s interesting to think about how NASA would handle a viral outbreak in space. In fact, there have been rare occasions that astronauts have fallen ill while on a mission. The question is, how did NASA handle these situations, what’s changed since then, and how will this affect future missions in space?
Crew of the Apollo 7
Indeed, throughout spaceflight history, there have been astronauts that have endured upper respiratory infections, colds, urinary tract infections, and skin infections. During the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, Cmdr. Wally Schirra most likely came aboard with a mild cold and ended up spreading it to other crew members. This resulted in crew members running out of medication and tissues. They even refused to wear their helmets while reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
This wasn’t the only time this occurred. Similar occurrences happened during both the Apollo 8 and Apollo 9 flights.
It was because of these three outbreaks that NASA implemented a pre-flight quarantine. This called for limited, monitored contact with other people in an effort to ensure the health and safety of the crew.
Colds are one thing, but what about serious medical issues?
Well, an unidentified astronaut ...