There are more space launches than you might think

The pandemic is keeping manned space missions on the ground, but not unmanned. While many missions are delayed, for some it's almost business as usual.

Space expert Keith Cowing says the manned missions require a lot more workers.

"For the activities that require a lot of people to be in one place at one time, with half the folks at home sick the other half can't do all the work."

Cowing says SpaceX and others will continue launches, including the Mars 2020 Rover this summer. But forcing new procedures to launch, because of the pandemic, could be a good thing.

"That's all you can hope that comes out of this whole horrible experience is that we learn how to do something different and better."

Cowing says SpaceX has a planned manned mission.

"The one launch that people are wondering about is the first launch of a commercial crew from the U.S. by SpaceX. They have delayed that until May."

Cowing says SpaceX continues unmanned launches, as do the Russians and others around the world. He says he's not sure how they're achieving social distancing in mission control rooms.

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