News May 15, 2020

Scenes from NASA’s Johnson Space Center: Combatting COVID-19

At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, teams are getting creative to aid in the response.


At NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), Jacobs provides critical support to JSC's Engineering Directorate and Exploration, Integration, and Science Directorate to provide integrated engineering design, testing and verification supporting NASA's Artemis program to land the first woman and next man on the moon, preparing us for human missions to Mars. For more on the out-of-this-world work we’re doing at JSC, click here.

And, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams are doing our part to keep our communities, partners and teams safe:

N95 Mask Reuse

With the shortage of N95 masks in the greater Houston Area, Harris County Medical personnel are developing a heat-based sanitization process to re-use masks multiple times. 

Knowing that COVID-19 cannot survive if exposed to a temperature of 135°F for 30 minutes or more, the Harris County Health Department (HCHD) hopes to develop and implement a procedure to bake the N95 masks and kill/remove all traces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

Baylor College of Medicine will be running tests on the efficacy of the approach from the standpoint of killing the virus. Because of the unique expertise in the NASA community, Harris Country Health Department personnel reached out to ask for their help to evaluate the impact to functional performance, quantify mechanical stability and characterize the chemical stability of select N95 mask materials after repeated heat sterilization. 

Jacobs partnered with NASA on this effort and provided out-of-profit innovations funding for our team members to perform the bake-out testing and the materials analysis. NASA and Jacobs teammate employees presented the results to the Harris County Health Department recently to rave reviews. And, perhaps most excitingly, the preliminary results are promising.

JSC Cloth Face Covers Manufacturing Effort

The JSC Center Operations Directorate (COD) is responsible for ensuring the availability of facilities and services necessary for the operation of the Center and was looking for a local solution to the fill a need for civil servants and contractors working essential tasks at the Center to have enough face cloth coverings to meet CDC updated recommendations. 

The COD contacted Jacobs’ primary customer, the Engineering Directorate, and we partnered to provide Jacobs innovations funding for our team members to design and manufacture 800 cloth covers to be delivered to the Center Operations team to disseminate to those required to work onsite. 

Our teammate, Softgoods, used their experience and expertise from constructing multi-layer-insulation (MLI) coverings for space hardware to sewing cloth face covers for personnel at JSC. Jacobs’ Project Manager worked with the NASA Occupational Health experts to review the design to meet the criteria for coverage over the nose and mouth. 

From these innovations at JSC to 3D-printed face shields and ear savers and assembling to-go lunches for the less fortunate, Jacobs is doing our part to bring our Culture of Caring into our communities during these unsettling times. Looking for more Bright Spots to lighten your day? Visit