SpaceX announced late Friday that they will try to launch the first unmanned commercial mission to the International Space Station on May 19.

“SpaceX and NASA are nearing completion of the software assurance process, and SpaceX is submitting a request to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for a May 19th launch target with a backup on May 22nd,” said SpaceX spokeswoman Kristin Brost Grantham, “Thus far, no issues have been uncovered during this process, but with a mission of this complexity we want to be extremely diligent.”

The software issues have delayed the mission over the last several weeks.  NASA issued a statement shortly after SpaceX acknowledging progress was being made on the mission preparation.

“After additional reviews and discussions between the SpaceX and NASA teams, we are in a position to proceed toward this important launch. The teamwork provided by these teams is phenomenal. There are a few remaining open items but we are ready to support SpaceX for its new launch date of May 19,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and
Operations at NASA.

On April 30 SpaceX conducted a “static fire test” where the rocket’s nine engines were ignited while the spacecraft was bolted down to the launchpad. A computer error delayed that test for several hours before it was successfully completed. SpaceX has not issued an official statement on the outcome of the test, although Granholm said May 1 that “things look good.”

Watch the static fire test

YouTube video

The upcoming flight is combining two separate missions. The initial plan was to launch the SpaceX Dragon capsule and have it maneuver close to the station without docking. The second mission was to result in the Dragon docking with the station and exchanging cargo before returning home. NASA approved a plan to combine the two test flights into one.

Aboard the Dragon is an experiment from students at the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School and the University High School of Science and Engineering. University of Hartford Assistant Professor Aime Levesque and her student Robert Lipski are mentoring the high school students on the project, utilizing the University of Hartford’s tissue culture room. CTTechJunkie will have a profile of the student experiment later this month.

Lon Seidman is the host and producer of “Lon.TV,” a consumer technology video show that is on a number of platforms including YouTube and Amazon. He creates in-depth, consumer-friendly product reviews and commentary. His YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers and more than 100 million views.

In addition to being a full-time content creator, Lon is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford (his alma mater) where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial content creation.

Prior to becoming a full-time creator, Lon was a partner at The Safety Zone, his family’s business that manufactures gloves and safety equipment. The company has locations around the globe and employs over 200 people worldwide. The Safety Zone was acquired by the Genuine Parts Corporation in 2016.

Lon is also active in public service, serving as the Chairman of the Essex Board of Education, a member of the Region 4 Board of Education, and as the Secretary / Treasurer of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. He was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans for his re-election in 2021.

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