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August 8, 2019

SVSU students engineer equipment for NASA’s consideration

symposiumA strong community partnership and a passion for creation soon could send a Saginaw Valley State University student-engineered creation where no SVSU student-engineered creation has gone before.


In collaboration with Saginaw-based Teamtech Motorsports, a group of mechanical engineering majors built a release buckle that one day could be utilized by NASA astronauts. The device would allow astronauts to unhook from the technology strapped to their inside-the-spacecraft suits — including various monitors and communications equipment — by rotating a single lever. Today, astronauts must unfasten from most devices on a piece-by-piece basis.


“This is another project that shows all the great opportunities SVSU offers students pursuing dream jobs,” said Brooks Byam, an SVSU professor of mechanical engineering and the students’ adviser.


The group’s project will be one of eight on display during the university’s Summer Engineering Symposium Friday, Aug. 9. The public is invited to meet the students and discuss those projects from 10 a.m. to noon in the first-floor hallways of SVSU’s Pioneer Hall. The students will present their projects in a classroom setting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in rooms P245 and P247 in Pioneer Hall.


Byam said Curt Tucker, founder and president of Teamtech Motorsports, for years has utilized SVSU mechanical engineering students in building equipment. Teamtech Motorsports specializes in providing safety equipment for motorsports.


When NASA approached Tucker about creating a device that would release spacesuit-based equipment more simplistically, Tucker created a design concept and asked SVSU students to take his idea to the next step, Byam said.


“He wanted us to help him refine his concept,” Byam said.


He said Tucker next plans to present the equipment to NASA for consideration.


Four students were involved in the project: Jacob Avery, of Brighton; Braeden Perzanowski, of Gagetown; Jeremy Porzondek, of Ubly; Chase Walther, of West Chicago, Illinois; and John Wojewoda, of Saginaw. In total, 38 students are presenting during Friday’s symposium.


All SVSU mechanical engineering majors are required to collaborate with outside clients or university organizations as part of their senior projects.