Table of Contents


  1. What is HUNCH?
  2. What are the goals of HUNCH?
  3. How are HUNCH goals accomplished?
  4. What agreements need to be signed with NASA to participate in HUNCH?
  5. Does HUNCH offer any certification?
  6. How are projects identified?
  7. How are projects assigned?
  8. Who typically pays for projects?
  9. How do schools join the HUNCH team?
  10. What are the skills needed to accomplish HUNCH projects?
  11. What does NASA provide the HUNCH schools?


– What is HUNCH?

HUNCH is an instructional partnership between NASA, high schools and intermediate/middle schools.  This partnership benefits both NASA and students. NASA receives cost effective hardware and soft goods that is fabricated by the students. The students receive hands-on experiences and in some cases, NASA certification in the development of training hardware for the International Space Station crew members or ground support personnel.  A spin-off of this teaming is the inspiration of the next generation of researchers.

– What are the goals of HUNCH?

    1.  To obtain training and some flight certified hardware and soft-goods that is used by NASA astronauts and personnel
    2. To inspire the next generation of explorers


 – How are the HUNCH goals accomplished?

The HUNCH goals are accomplished by NASA engineers mentoring students in the fabrication of  the desired item.  It provides NASA engineers with one-on-one time with students.  The skills that students learn in HUNCH classes significantly inspire them to pursue careers in STEM areas.

– What agreements need to be signed with NASA to participate in HUNCH?

There are two agreements a “Statement of Work” and a “Space Act Agreement.”

The statement of work is new in 2011. It provides NASA with information about the school’s facilities and interests.

To protect NASA,  a Space Act Agreement (SAA) is set up with each school district prior to working with a school.  The purpose of the SAA is to extend the district liability protection to NASA.  The SAA also supports equipment loan.  This allows NASA to loan NASA property to schools, if it is decided that it would be to NASA’s benefit for the school to have that capability.

– Does HUNCH offer any certification?

HUNCH has several different certifications.  These certifications are in the areas of welding and electronics.  In welding, we have certified students in both TIG and MIG welding.  In electronics, we have students flight certified in cable harness construction.

– How are projects identified?

Projects are identified in two categories.

  1. Projects that have been requested by a NASA user.
  2. Projects that have been requested to see if high school students can accomplish the task.

Projects that have been requested by a NASA user are initiated by contacting Stacy Hale at Johnson Space Center.  Projects include fabricating training hardware for astronauts, flight certified hardware, soft goods and videos. If Hale thinks HUNCH students can accomplish the project then a HUNCH Request (HR) form is filled out.  The HR is used to identify the requirements of the project and to find out the supports that the NASA user will be providing during the fabrication process.

The other type of project is to establish if HUNCH students can accomplish a task. For example before students started building ISS Single Stowage Lockers the HUNCH schools first built prototypes of the lockers. Followed by the successful completion of prototype lockers the schools are tasked with fabricating lockers for training purposes.

– How are projects assigned?

Projects are assigned to an individual class.  If it cannot be performed by a single class then we try to keep the project in a single school.  If we do not have all of the capability in a given school then we try to keep the project in a given school district.

– Who typically pays for projects?

Projects are typically paid for using JSC Payload Office (OZ) funding.

– How do schools join the HUNCH team?

In the past, schools have joined the HUNCH team in two ways.  The first way was that the district’s  Career and Technical Education (CATE) Director was contacted to see if there was interest by their teachers. The second way was by personal communications between HUNCH teachers, students, or others.

From now on, schools will need to submit a “Statement of Work” in order to become a part of the HUNCH team.

– What are the skills needed to accomplish HUNCH projects?

These activities include but are not limited to: review the drawings and documentation with the students, identify the materials and consumables that are needed, develop a fabrication plan, and develop the skills needed to fabricate the project.

– What does NASA provide to the schools?


The main documentations are drawings.  One of the challenges is that some times the only drawings we have are flight certified drawings that are more detailed than is needed for training hardware.  When making training hardware modifications, NASA officials will provide the information on what can be omitted.

Materials needed to fabricate the desired item:

All materials will be delivered by NASA to the schools. When dealing with schools typically thirty percent more material than required is ordered. This provides material for plenty of error. We have to keep in mind that through mistakes students learn.


All consumables or raw materials in the fabrication of the item will be provided by NASA.  For example, for a sewing project this would be thread, needles and material.


NASA provides the quality tools needed to fabricate hardware or soft goods. Tooling is divided into two areas.  The first area is tooling that NASA requires that is not standard for schools.  This is typically mil standard tooling used in electronic fabrication.  This includes wire strippers, crimpers, pin insertion/removal devices, soldering irons and pots.  The second area is tooling that is needed to produce quality hardware.  An example of this would be calipers to verify measurements on sheet metal or milling projects.


To increase capability at a given school NASA uses the Space Act Agreement (SAA) to loan the school NASA property.  Each teacher is told about NASA excess equipment.  If a teacher identifies a piece of equipment in NASA excess that would benefit their HUNCH project then this equipment can be on loan to the school. The responsibilities are defined in the SAA.

Materials for testing:

Sometimes it will be required to provide the students materials to practice with or test.  Examples of this are the welding certification process or student learning of soldering and crimping.  It will take the students practice to become proficient in these tasks.  NASA will purchase extra components so students have items for practice.

Tour of NASA:

This is a VIP tour of JSC for HUNCH students and teachers.  Education outreach supports these tours.

Recognition ceremony:

NASA supports one district each year in hosting a recognition ceremony.  This ceremony is held at the end of April or early May.  During this event, students handover hardware that they fabricated to NASA officials. NASA presents each student and teacher with an award certificate.

Working side by side with the students:

Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.  The only way to show how much you care is to spend time helping them reach their fabrication goals.  This also provides opportunities to talk with students about their educational and career goals.

Safety items:

Every other year personal safety equipment is purchased and handed out to the HUNCH schools.  This is done to promote safety in the schools.  The typical items NASA supplies are safety glasses, ear plugs, gloves and first aid kits.