Mansfield ISD Ben Barber Innovation Academy students are working with the NASA HUNCH program to create secure packaging that will allow NASA to send objects to outer space.
The NASA program -- HUNCH, which stands for High schools United with NASA to Create Hardware -- is a STEM outreach effort designed to bring students new educational experiences with NASA projects.
“I saw an advertisement through Facebook and I just reached out to them to see if it was something we could get involved with,” said Tim Sherwood, the manufacturing teacher at Ben Barber. “They had us come down and take a look at their facility and here we are making parts for them now.”
The HUNCH partnership requires the students at Ben Barber to make lids for 40 storage boxes each year. Once completed, the boxes will be sent to space stations containing food, supplies and experiments.
“My favorite part of the project is probably just the challenge of doing it,” said Ryan Weisblatt, a Mansfield High School senior. “A lot of people don’t get this opportunity, so this part alone has really made me think and challenge myself.”
In preparation for making the lids, the students learned how to operate drawing files, manual coding and programmed software for machines.
“The students are really enjoying this type of work and to be able to see the parts and put them to real use, it really shows them what they can look forward to after high school,” said Sherwood. “A lot went into it and the kids were able to overcome it all."
After making the boxes, the students are allowed to sign their name onto the fixture.
“My name is going to be in space one day and that’s an amazing accomplishment that I can tell my friends,” said Weisblatt. “It’s an awesome experience all around.”