Laurel NASA–HUNCH student projects to appear in Netflix movie

Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Outlook photo by Chris McConnell                        Laurel NASA–HUNCH students Ethan Gradwohl, left, and Logan Vincent are seen with the their ATU project that is being used in an upcoming Netflix movie.

Outlook photo by Chris McConnell
            Laurel NASA–HUNCH students Ethan Gradwohl, left, and Logan Vincent are seen with the their ATU project that is being used in an upcoming Netflix movie.

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Courtesy photo

The Utility Outlet Panel former Laurel NASA–HUNCH students Matt Smarsch and Matt Wallila built 10 years ago has been used to train NASA astronauts and will appear in an upcoming Netflix movie.

Two current Laurel NASAHUNCH (High school United with NASA to Create Hardware) students and three former ones recently had two of their projects used during filming for an upcoming Netflix movie.

NASA’s Glenn Johnson, Design and Prototyping Project Manager at Johnson Space Center said, “Over the summer of 2018 HUNCH staff received an email from Rim of the World Productions who is making a movie for Netflix. Rim of the World is making a science fiction movie that included a couple of scenes in the International Space Station and wanted their scenes to look authentic. Rim of the World had seen some of the handrails on our website that HUNCH students were making for use on the International Space and for training equipment. They were asking if they could buy or borrow some. We didn’t have any to sell but Bob Zeek in Huntsville, Ala. said he could loan them some of their training handrails that students had built. Then they asked if we had any other equipment that they could use so we sent them a list of spare training equipment we had on hand.”

Matt Smarsch and Matt Wallila built a Utility Outlet Panel when the Laurel HUNCH program was in its infancy 10 years ago, and was one of the projects used in the film.

Ethan Gradwohl, Logan Vincent and 2018 graduate Johnathan Curfman worked on Auto Terminal Unit over the past three years. NASA’s Dr. Florence Gold, Implementation Project Manager for HUNCH programs on both coasts said the difficulty was that they not only created the hardware, but software too, “which is the most difficult part.” The ATU unit is like a high–tech intercom system. Gradwohl said they just got their projects mailed back to Laurel High School the prior week.

According to the International Movie Database (IMDb), “Rim of the World” is about four misfit teenagers who become unlikely allies when their summer camp experience is cut short by an alien invasion. The teens must work together, overcome their fears and insecurities and work as a team as they attempt to save the world.

The film’s Director, McG, has worked on multiple films, directing “Charlie’s Angels,” “We Are Marshall” and “Terminator Salvation.” He has also worked on multiple television series and directed videos for bands as diverse as Fastball, The Offspring, Everclear, Cypress Hill and Sublime.

Zack Stentz wrote the screenplay for “Rim” and is known for writing “Agent Cody Banks,” “Thor” and the upcoming sequel to 1980’s classic “Top Gun.”

The film stars Lynn Collins who appeared in “X–Men Origins: Wolverine,” “The Number 23,” “John Carter and The Merchant of Venice;” and Annabeth Gish, who has 46 acting credits, including appearing in 26 episodes of the “X–Files.”

“Rim of the World” is currently in post–production with no release date set.

The NASA–HUNCH program started as a result of NASA tasking officials with finding lower-cost solutions for training hardware.

“Up until 2003 astronauts didn’t have working models to train on, they just used pictures. It wasn’t until they got to the ISS that they used actual hardware,” Gold said.

“It feels great to know that HUNCH students produced equipment that could be valuable to the ISS, training and also to the movie industry to help science fiction look more like the real thing. This team has a lot of diversity and value for the whole space program and its future,” Johnson said.


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