MELBOURNE, Fla – Eau Gallie High School students in Brevard County are making news after helping NASA with 250 special wires that are currently being used in space.
“It’s called an EV or extravehicular wire,” said William McInnish, the aviation technology teacher at Eau Gallie High School.
At first glance, the bronze-colored wires may seem ordinary but for NASA it’s a big deal because they help during specific missions.
“They flew in their top engineer from Houston who worked with the kids for several days; teaching them how to properly wrap, stretch, straighten the wires,” McInnish said.
The students are enrolled in Eau Gallie High School’s aviation program, which is the only certified aerospace aircraft assembly program at a high school level in the nation.
“I really think that this program makes us grow,” said Stephanie Díaz, a junior at the school.
The 17-year-old hopes to one day work for a space tech company. Her classmate, Luiz Neto, also a junior, said the opportunity has opened the doors for him to continue his education.
“This is definitely good for me as a good steppingstone because I myself want to get into the aerospace field,” Neto said.
McInnish showed News 6 several pictures of the students working on the EV wire project before COVID-19 hit. Among the photographs is one NASA sent of an astronaut using some of the wires they created. In the picture, two EV wires are seen on the spacesuit while the astronaut was performing a spacewalk. McInnish said the role of the wire is to hold down the equipment they will need while outside of the aircraft.
“They’ll carry several of them when they do a spacewalk; extra ones you know, if you need to take something apart it has a tendency to drift away so you wanna tie everything down,” McInnish said.
The school program has also been a part of building storage lockers for NASA, which are used to transport food and experiments among other essentials.
“Those lockers have a 20-year life span so some of those lockers the kids helped build will continue on to the Artemis program and some may even end up on Mars one day,” McInnish said.
Diaz and Neto are already certified through the program and it will allow them to work for companies like Boeing and NASA even while still in school. For their aviation teacher, it’s witnessing his students’ shine that keeps him going as an educator.
“Seeing the kids be successful and not just successful as far as getting a job but being successful in life, I mean, how many kids in the world can say that they built something that not just went to space, but it was actually used in a spacewalk,” McInnish said.