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.