3-D Design Challenge Seeks Students To Invent Crew Tools

Future engineers encouraged to design crew tools for the International Space Station. Image Credit: Future Engineers

September 21, 2017 – This fall, NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation are challenging students to use their ingenuity to create a helpful tool that combines the functions of two objects being used by crew aboard the International Space Station.

The national Future Engineers Two for the Crew Challenge provides an exciting opportunity for K-12 students to develop an innovative model intended to be 3-D printed by astronauts on the orbiting laboratory. Students will invent multi-use tools and customized equipment that can help astronauts with maintenance, medical, trash management, and the challenge of securing and storing items in microgravity.

Human exploration of the solar system is currently limited by the need to carry consumables, replace systems and parts, and use available materials. This is why building and maintaining things in space will be important for future missions. Students will learn about the advantages of in-space manufacturing and customization. This means that crew members can print items when they are needed, including specific parts for the unique space station environment.

Participants will explore concepts like mass and volume, while learning engineering and 3-D design skills. Submissions from K-12 students in the United States will be accepted online through December 19.

Winners will be announced on March 14, 2018.

The Two for the Crew Challenge is free for student participation. The challenge website provides educational information about space station crew tools and brainstorming resources that help students get started with creating their designs. The site also provides links to free 3-D design software.

Two for the Crew is the sixth in a series of space innovation challenges developed by Future Engineers and the ASME Foundation, with technical assistance from NASA.