Assabet students help build cube satellite for NASA

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Assabet students help build cube satellite for NASA
Assabet advanced manufacturing students, who participate in the NASA HUNCH program, instructors, and Assabet administrators stand with the signed locker that will be used in the International Space Station. (Photo/Courtesy)

MARLBOROUGH – Mentors from the NASA HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) program recently visited Assabet Valley advanced manufacturing students.

On April 2, NASA HUNCH mentors Florence Gold and Bill Gibson met with the advanced manufacturing students who participate in the program.

Students in the program built four parts of a cube satellite that will hold testing and data collection components on satellites launched from the International Space Station.

Cube satellites or CubeSats are small box-shaped satellites that are launched into orbit to observe the Earth, for scientific investigations, new technology demonstrations and advanced mission concepts.

Students and faculty were proud of their work and accomplishments, as Assabet is the first school in the program to make parts for NASA that will leave the International Space Station and go into orbit.

“I couldn’t be more proud of myself. This has been such a positive and challenging experience,” said Assabet senior Marcos Zengotita, who worked directly on the cube satellite. “This process has been so fun, and knowing that the parts we made are going into space is really awesome. I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.”

During the visit, to commemorate their participation in the HUNCH program students and teachers had the opportunity to sign a NASA locker that will be used in the International Space Station. All students across Massachusetts who participate in the HUNCH program will sign the locker.

“It is nice that the students get recognition for the hard work they put in. This is a hard trade. A lot of people don’t know what manufacturing is and we have the opportunity to use new technology and be able to create precision parts for NASA,” said advanced manufacturing instructor David Sommerville. “The fact that students are able to make parts that are going up to the International Space Station is awesome to see. It prepares them for the industry and gives them the confidence for jobs after they leave Assabet. If they can do it for NASA, they can do it for a local company as well.”

Gold and Gibson also spoke to students about the importance of the work they are doing in their advanced manufacturing classes and how this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to say something with their name on it has traveled to space.

“This was truly a wonderful experience for our students. The pride they had when they were able to sign their name on the locker and speak with Flo and Bill was surreal to see,” said Superintendent Ernest Houle. “The HUNCH program is a great opportunity for students to work on their skills and build confidence in the trade.”

HUNCH is an instructional partnership between NASA and local school districts. Students are tasked with creating cost-effective hardware and soft goods in collaboration with HUNCH team members.

The HUNCH program works with more than 500 school districts in 46 states. HUNCH projects cover six areas: culinary; design and prototyping; design for flight; hardware; soft goods; video and media.

For information, visit https://nasahunch.com/.

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