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Texas Engineering Students Building NASA Prototypes

Booker T. Washington High School in Houston, TX, and NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) are collaborating to inspire students to go into the fields of science and engineering through the High School Students United With NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program.

Students from the Booker T. Washington High School for Engineering Professions are planning, building, and testing prototypes that could be used by JSC through the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate (ARES), which performs physical science research.

Currently, the students are working on creating a high-altitude suborbital rocket that will carry a NASA micro-camera as part of a mission to explore above the Earth's atmosphere. In a separate project, students are developing a surface reflectance spectrometer interface that works with Robonaut 2, a robot humanoid, as part of the Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities program.

NASA provides all the materials, drawings, and other resources necessary to create the prototypes and will also provide feedback and inspections during the projects.
"Working with the Booker T. Washington High School for Engineering Professions gives JSC and ARES the opportunity to help guide the development and test of prototype equipment the students have built for our science instruments. Having the next generation of engineers and scientists with real build experience gives us a very positive outlook for the future," said Eileen K. Stansbery, director of the ARES Directorate at Johnson Space Center.

HUNCH isn't the first collaboration between the school and NASA. The agency's employees have been mentoring Washington students for two years.

The HUNCH program is available to both middle and high schools.

The Booker T. Washington High School for Engineering Professions is a magnet school in the Houston Independent School District with approximately 1,000 students.

For more information about HUNCH, visit Go to to learn more about Booker T. Washington High School.

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Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.