United With NASA!
The students in BCTC’s Precision and Computerized Machining Technology had an out of the world opportunity to work with NASA HUNCH this past year and design handles for the International Space Station (ISS). The handles are a very instrumental component for the astronauts to navigate the zero-gravity atmosphere in the ISS.
The mission of NASA HUNCH is to empower and inspire students through project-based learning. Students learn and apply 21st century skills, creating the opportunity to launch their careers through the participation in the design and fabrication of real-world valued products for NASA. The program began in 2003, with only 3 school participating. Since then, it has grown across 47 states and includes over 282 schools with more than 1,600 pieces of hardware being produced for the ISS or training. All manufactured items have been designed based on requests made by the Astronaut Crew of the ISS.
The Precision and Computerized Machining Technology students were first trained by a NASA engineer, Dr. Florence Gold, to review NASA protocols and quality checks needed for all equipment. Next, the students reviewed schematics and selected the tools needed to fabricate 30 handles. BCTC students programmed Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment to create each piece of the handle. Lastly, each component was inspected and finishing touches were made, all while maintaining NASA’s aerospace standards.
The handles are in the final stage of approval at NASA and are expected to be delivered to the ISS in the fall of 2023.