Lincoln County High School continues its long-term working relation with NASA, manufacturing components for training and actual use in space.
Students in Randy Anderson’s and Mark Helton’s classes recently signed a Single Stowage Locker that will used on the International Space Station.
The program known as HUNCH (High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware) shows high school students the many ways they can put their talents to work for NASA, beyond the role of astronaut. The program provides students a hands-on experience with the space agency, building NASA-designed parts for use by agency personnel.
NASA provides materials, equipment and mentoring to each of the HUNCH teams across the country so that they can complete their projects to near expert quality over the course of their studies while keeping the students as safe as possible when working with the machinery. These students then present their projects during the HUNCH Ceremony where some projects will be selected to be used in NASA systems and on board the ISS.
“When we started this program 14 years ago, we had two main goals,” said Bob Zeek, HUNCH co-founder and program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “We needed full-size models of actual space station flight hardware to train ground support personnel. And, we wanted to get kids who are good at machining, welding or other technical skills involved with NASA. All the things we do in HUNCH are preparing these students for the future and helping NASA at the same time.”
The program started with three schools in two states. Now 117 student classrooms in 26 states participate, helping build NASA’s future, as well as their own. The HUNCH team also joined forces with the SME Education Foundation to help encourage students pursuing engineering and technology degrees. The foundation is a network of manufacturing professionals, researchers, educators and students working to connect and share knowledge and experience through mentoring, internships and job-shadowing. HUNCH and SME’s Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education (PRIME) program is a new collaboration to introduce more high school students to career opportunities in the aerospace industry.