It’s one small step for students at Windsor High School; one big step for their future.
They’re part of the HUNCH program (High School Students United With NASA To Create Hardware), where high school students make aerospace quality parts for NASA.
Joey Nguyen wants to be a mechanical engineer when he grows up. For now, he’s making a toolbox. But, you won’t find this toolbox in dad’s workshop.
“It has to withstand the harsh environment in space, but also be delicate enough to store the personal items of the astronauts,” the senior said.
For students like senior Connor Miele, who is off to become a naval nuclear engineer next year, the precision in this type of advanced level manufacturing is exactly the skill set he needs.
“Getting down to the fine points, the significant figures, all that. Learning how to graph on the machines,” Miele explained.
Students get very detailed specs from NASA on how to make the parts. NASA also pays for the raw materials, as well as for any special tools and equipment needed. But, the HUNCH program, started in 2003, is also a way for NASA to *save money. Said Matt Dadona, a technology education teacher at the school, “being able to get that cost savings, but also teach the high school students the skills that future machinists and engineers will need to have, is a huge benefit to everybody.”
Nothing from Windsor is in space just yet – the kids here have only been doing HUNCH for 2 years. But, if the toolbox they are helping to make meets NASA standards, it could end up at the International Space Station.