Quarantena per gli astronauti Space X

Two NASA astronauts are now in quarantine ahead of historic SpaceX launch

They've already been in a bubble for months, and it's not because of COVID-19.

Eric Mack

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken familiarize themselves with SpaceX's Crew Dragon. SpaceX

The first astronauts to hitch a ride to space in a SpaceX Crew Dragon are also the first humans to leave the planet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have begun a mandatory quarantine two weeks ahead of their scheduled May 27 launch to the International Space Station.

What might surprise you is that the quarantine isn't because of the coronavirus.

"'Flight crew health stabilization' is a routine part of the final weeks before liftoff for all missions to the space station," NASA's Anna Heiney explained in a blog post.

Hurley and Behnken are about to spend several hours in a cramped capsule flying to orbit, where they'll join NASA's Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner for a number of weeks on the ISS. The five men will be living in a contained space inhaling each other's recirculated breath and working in close quarters.

In other words, it's a perfect environment for transmitting viruses, so NASA already takes pandemic-level precautions that most of us are just now getting used to as a matter of routine.

The astronauts and their families have actually been in a standard "quarantine bubble" since before the time the United States began to go into lockdown, Behnken told CBS News in mid-March.