HUNCH designs table for International Space Station

Jasmine Garza, Editor-in-chief

As a part of the HUNCH program, High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware, a plaque with the names of the Creek students involved will be taken to the International Space Station. This is to honor their involvement for designing and constructing a product to be used by the astronauts.

For  over  12 months the engineering students from Clear Creek, Cy Woods and Cy Springs have partnered with Johnson Space Center to create The Next Generation Galley Table to be sent to the ISS in December.

Beginning the project in the summer of 2014, interns hired by NASA were responsible for making various parts using 3-D printers with aluminum     in   order to construct the idea.

Although many parts were constructed, the summer products were not to the flight table standards. Every piece of material used must be tagged with a 911 tag, in order to keep track of every person who has touched what will eventually go into space.

The table itself has taken 12 months to create and about two million dollars. The 12 months of planning out concepts resulted in a table constructed out of high grade aluminum and stainless steel. . The precision required for this project teaches students to be patient and aware.

“We usually milled between plus or minus two or three thousandths to as much as plus or minus five thousandths accuracy. The finish has to be perfect,” William Gibbs, Engineering teacher, said.

With the design of the table right on the cutting edge of technology, the table is able to fold in half with a stainless steel bar to be used as a handle bar, as well as a strap to connect the table to the wall in order to keep it from moving. With a green top and blue handle bar, the galley table will become the most colorful object in the ISS that is said to last the duration of the space station unless something else is needed.

“In the current space station that we have now the astronauts have to either float above it or float below it in order to go from one part of the space station to the other, with straps getting in the way. This way they can fold it out of the way, naturally folding under the table,” Gibbs said.

Aside from the amazing opportunities, the HUNCH program has taught students what it is like to be in the real world and what it would be like if they chose to work in the engineering field.

“It has taught me that it takes hard work, dedication, and extreme precision to be able to work with NASA,” senior Sam Piccolo said.

With permission from NASA the students who worked on the Next Generation Galley Table were able to sign the plates that will be placed on the bottom side of the table.

“This took a special permission from NASA. Even employees that work for NASA that are engineers or machinists never get to sign a piece of hardware. In this case we were given permission to sign it because it is not going to effect the usage of the table itself,” Gibbs said.

After the table was completed, a special award ceremony was organized by NASA in order to recognize all the students in the HUNCH program and their many projects. With several students from Creek, the parents were proud to see their children walk on stage and receive their award.