Astronauts (L-R) Timothy Kopra, Jeff Williams and Timothy Peake share a meal around the galley table designed and manufactured by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students partially build using the Intelitek Spectralight CNC Machine. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH)
On March 22nd this year, the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, destination the international space station and on board, buried in between 7500 lbs. of supplies was a very unique piece of equipment designed and created by the Cypress Woods and Cypress Springs High Schools in Cypress, Texas.
Under the instruction of industrial technology teacher Mike Bennett and as part of the HUNCH program, that involves students in fabricating real-world products for NASA as they apply their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, the students designed a galley table for the space station to serve the astronauts. The HUNCH program — High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware has been running for 12 years already.
NASA contacted Mike in 2013. “They needed a focal point for everyone to meet together in the space station to share a table for a meal or a workspace,” Bennett said. “This was a great teaching opportunity and It makes it even more rewarding to know that we contributed a functional piece of hardware already being used.”
The students, participants in Mike Bennett’s advanced engineering design and engineering design classes, worked with the Johnson Space Center and Lockheed-Martin to create the design, then manufacture and build the prototypes and final version that was sent to space in March. The team used the Intelitek industrial manufacturing classroom tools in Mike’s lab including the spectraLIGHT CNC machine to create some of the parts needed for this project.
The fold-up table was designed with a latch system that allows it to be pulled up and out, doubling its length. One side is set up for a smooth surface with Velcro dots that can be attached to hold objects in zero-gravity. The other side features a seat track with clamps and holders ideal for a work circle.
Cypress Woods students in the precision metal class performed machining on the table parts using the Intelitek CNC machine.
spectraLIGHT is an earlier predecessor to Intelitek’s latest milling, turning and machining solutions for industrial education classes. Intelitek designs and delivers education programs and teaching hardware that is industrial grade and is integrated with comprehensive curriculum, programming software, and pre-production simulation tools. This enables educators like Mike Bennett to teach beginners and advanced students. The programs take students from the most basic level to the point where they can manufacture NASA parts.
Intelitek’s mission is to teach career readiness skills – our programs are designed to teach students both in high school and at vocational or college level schools with the skills and knowledge real job providers are looking for. Intelitek Advanced Technology Programs teach relevant job skills using real-world tools focused on desirable industry specialties and in-demand trades.
The learning portfolio teaches methodologies and operations for areas like industrial robotics, manufacturing, materials handling, prototyping, hydraulics, mechatronics, electrical, CIM, process control and industrial maintenance. For more about Intelitek and to find a dealer near you go to www.intelitek.com
Owen Theeke from Cypress Woods High School is seen here machining aluminum rods. After cleaning, the rods
were then sent for anodizing. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
In the middle picture, Leah Hepburn from Oak Ridge High School is inserting the anodized rods as stiffeners
into the Payload Pantry. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
The two parts of the Payload Pantry with the aluminum rods going the length of the bags.
The stiffeners are what allow the mesh covers to close properly so items don’t float out in zero gravity
(Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)