Liquid Oxygen Shortage Could Delay Space Launches

The Verge reports:

Demand for oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients is spiking during the latest pandemic surge, leaving liquid oxygen in short supply for other uses, including water purification and rocket launches. As supplies get redirected to hospitals, other industries are scrambling to figure out alternatives.

“We’re actually going to be impacted this year with the lack of liquid oxygen for launch,” Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said earlier this week. “We certainly are going to make sure the hospitals are going to have the oxygen that they need, but for anybody who has liquid oxygen to spare, send me an email.”

The shortage is also putting indirect pressure on other parts of the space industry. A gas supplier for the United Launch Alliance is now focused on addressing the dire oxygen situation in Florida, a move that could change plans for a satellite launch next month.

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