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Student Winner of Space Tool Design Challenge to Speak with International Space Station Crew

Press Release From: Marshall Space Flight Center
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The winner of a student design competition who created a tool that will be 3-D printed on the International Space Station will get the unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at NASA's command post for science and speak to astronauts now orbiting on the station who will print his "space tool."

As a high school senior in 2014 in Enterprise, Alabama, Robert Hillan entered the Future Engineers Space Tool Challenge -- a design competition sponsored by NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation that challenged students to create something astronauts could use in space. The catch was it had to be something that could be electronically uploaded and printed using the new 3-D printer installed on the station, advancing technology that will be critical to the future of deep space exploration.

Now a sophomore at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Hillan will visit the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville June 15 to speak with station crew members as they reveal the finished version of his winning design -- one compact unit featuring different sized wrenches, drives to attach sockets, a precision measuring tool for wire gauges, and a single-edged wire stripper.

From the same consoles NASA flight controllers use to work with the astronauts every day, Hillan will watch as his Multipurpose Precision Maintenance Tool is removed from the station's new Additive Manufacturing Facility. He will talk with crew members about his design and their experiences living and working in space.

When the crew call is complete, media are invited to talk with Hillan, Deanne Bell, manager of the Future Engineers program, and Nikki Werkheiser, NASA's 3-D Printer Program manager, about the challenge and the 3-D printer on the station.

Media interested in covering this event should contact Janet Anderson in the Marshall Public & Employee Communications Office at 256-544-0034 no later than 4 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 14. Media must report to the Redstone Arsenal Joint Visitor Control Center at Gate 9, Interstate 565 interchange at Research Park Boulevard by 11:45 a.m. June 15. Vehicles are subject to a security search at the gate. News media will need photo identification and proof of car insurance.

For more information on the space station, visit:

www.nasa.gov/station

For more information on NASA's 3-D printing programs, visit:

www.nasa.gov/3Dprinting

For more information on Future Engineers challenges, visit:

www.futureengineers.org

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