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International Space Station

Twenty Years of Continuous Human Presence Pictured at left are examples of items designed and manufactured by students through NASA’s HUNCH project. Top: Astronaut Reid Wiseman uses a soft, collapsible HUNCH crew quarter organizer that features removable mesh pockets. Center: A double locker produced by students houses the Phase Change Experiment aboard the space station. Bottom: Astronauts in orbit on the space station model footpads created by students.

A favorite example for Kamas of student engagement involves the creation of “astro socks.” She tells it this way: “It stemmed from a conversation when we were meeting with Microsoft Education and we were telling about how when you go to the ISS, the calluses migrate from the bottom of your feet to the top of your feet because astronauts use their feet to hook up under those hold bars. We showed a video of Peggy Whitson taking off her socks and you see the skin flaking off. They thought this was just fascinating and that middle-school students would just love this; you get to see cool gross body science stuff. And from that, we developed an engineering design challenge where students actually built a prototype device that astronauts can put on their feet to alleviate some of the pressure.” Kamas noted that during a downlink to the Museum of Flight in Redmond, Washington, attended by 250 students, the participants asked astronaut Jessica Meir about the pressure her feet feel in space. Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger was in Redmond in the audience. The students got to share their designs with her as well. “It was really a great culminating event from the very beginning of doing the design to being able to talk to an astronaut on the space station about this realworld problem that impacts her.”

Through NASA’s HUNCH project, students also get the opportunity to design flight hardware for the space station. HUNCH, shorthand for “High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware,” was started by NASA Payload Training Capability Project Manager Stacy Hale in 2003. Hale had learned from observing his high school-aged son that project-based learning opportunities could not only spur students’ academic development but could also provide useful training equipment for the space station. Today, through HUNCH, students design prototypes and bend metal on items that help space station crews be more productive. HUNCH students have produced 1,340 items




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International Space Station: Twenty Years of Continuous Human Presence  

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