UPDATED – 11:15 p.m. March 3, 2013 – SpaceX successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday morning after a clogged valve nearly disabled their Dragon spacecraft shortly after launch March 1.

“SpaceX is proud to execute this important work for NASA, and we’re thrilled to bring this capability back to the United States,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX. “Today’s launch continues SpaceX’s long-term partnership with NASA to provide reliable, safe transport of cargo to and from the station, enabling beneficial research and advancements in technology and research.”

Dragon is delivering more than 2,300 pounds of cargo to the station that will be unloaded and stowed over the next three weeks. Astronauts aboard the station will load over 3,000 pounds of return cargo during Dragon’s visit. Dragon will depart the station and splash down in the Pacific Ocean on March 25.

The SpaceX rocket lifted off at 10:10 a.m. eastern time March 1, with no apparent issues during the launch process. After the spacecraft achieved its orbit, however, three of Dragon’s four thrusters failed to come online, delaying the deployment of the spacecraft’s solar panels. Dragon operated on its batteries until commands from the ground forced the panels open. 

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk attributed the thruster problem to a blocked valve aboard the unmanned space capsule that was cleared by a remotely executed pressure hammering. NASA required at least two of Dragon’s four thrusters to be active in order to proceed with its berthing to the ISS. William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA, expressed praise for how SpaceX handled troubleshooting and addressing the anomalies.

“Extremely professional and well handled,” Gerstenmaier said.

Watch our tour of the SpaceX launchpad:

An engine failure on the last SpaceX mission in October resulted in the loss of a communication satellite in the rocket’s first stage but still delivered Dragon to orbit. A pressure failure was blamed for that anomaly.

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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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