|HILLAN in House of Reps.|
Enterprise H.S. student--now UA Engineering student, Robert Hillan--- was invited to watch his tool come off the printer from a unique vantage point. On June 15, standing amidst the flight controllers in the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which is mission control for space station science, Hillan looked on as NASA astronaut Jeff Williams displayed the finished tool from the station's Additive Manufacturing Facility. The Marshall Center is located just a few miles from where Hillan is a sophomore engineering student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
"I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to design something for fabrication on the space station," Hillan said. "I have always had a passion for space exploration, and space travel in general. I designed the tool to adapt to different situations, and as a result I hope to see variants of the tool being used in the future, hopefully when it can be created using stronger materials."
Not only did Hillan get to watch his tool being made, he also got to spend a few minutes chatting with astronauts on the station.
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, a current station crew member, congratulated Hillan, saying "When you have a problem, it will drive specific requirements and solutions. 3-D printing allows you to do a quick design to meet those requirements. That's the beauty of this tool and this technology. You can produce something you hadn't anticipated and do it on short notice."
"You have a great future ahead of you."
(From NASA News Release)