CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. — More information is emerging about how a government shutdown would affect NASA, the Kennedy Space Center and astronauts living in space.
- Furloughs to come to almost all Kennedy Space Center workers
- Unclear how shutdown would affect SpaceX Crew Dragon project
- RELATED: Government Shutdown Looms as Senate Unlikely to Pass Funding Bill
- Full coverage of space and launches on the East Coast
If the government — and NASA — shuts down, astronaut Anne McClain and her two crew members will celebrate Christmas and continue to conduct science experiments on the International Space Station, with support from a few hundred employees at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
As far as impacts at Kennedy Space Center, of the 2,013 employees, only 196 employees would be exempt from the furloughs.
NASA just revised its shutdown plan this week and says only employees who are key to protecting life or property can stay on during a government shutdown.
There is some uncertainty on how the shutdown will impact SpaceX, which is finishing work on its Crew Dragon spacecraft at KSC.
The first test flight of the Crew Dragon, without anyone on board, is set for Thursday, January 17, and that could be delayed if the shutdown lingers. It's unclear how long a shutdown would last.
Missions already underway would also not be impacted, such as the Mars Insight lander and the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft that arrived at an asteroid this month.
In addition, the New Horizons spacecraft will still make history on January 1, with the farthest flyby of any Earth object, billions of miles beyond Pluto.
However, NASA TV coverage of the event would probably not happen if the shutdown is still going on.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which is operated for NASA by Delaware North and not supported by taxpayer funding, will be "fully operational, including buses to the Apollo/Saturn V Center," it said in a statement.
Also, Saturday's scheduled launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket would not be impacted by the shutdown. It's not a NASA mission but rather an U.S. Air Force mission, and the Department of Defense is one of the federal agencies that has funding secured into 2019.