EHOVE teams up with NASA

At NASA Glenn in Cleveland on October 30, NASA unveiled the 3KVA Solar Mobile Power Plant that EHOVE Career Center students built with NASA professionals.  To open the event, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and NASA Glenn Research Center Director Jim Free arrived in an electric car and plugged it into the unit to recharge.  

The power plant will travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston where it will be used as a power source for a spacecraft power system controls test bed.  “It will become part of a virtual spacecraft, sending power to developing avionics communications, controls and life support systems which may eventually be used for planetary exploration,” said Free after being introduced to the crowd by NASA Project Manager Carol Tolbert.  

To the EHOVE students who worked on the project, he directed the statement, “That’s pretty cool to say that you had your stamp on that.”

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland teamed up with EHOVE to build the mobile solar power plant.  Students in EHOVE’s Electrical Tech and Industrial Tech programs were trained and certified by NASA Glenn engineers and technicians to work on the power system. They installed wiring and welded sections of the solar array frame at both the career center and NASA Glenn.  EHOVE Collision & Refinishing students also participated in the project by painting the trailer.  In all, about 200 EHOVE juniors and seniors participated over the 2+ year course of the project.

“EHOVE Career Center and NASA have partnered to bridge the gap between education, business and industry,” said EHOVE Assistant Director Matt Ehrhardt.  “This project has given the students confidence and a skill set that will give them an advantage when they enter college or the work force.  We are greatly appreciative of this opportunity we have been given to collaborate and now unveil the NASA and EHOVE 3kVA Solar Trailer.  Thank you to all who made this happen.”

Tyler Tomblin (New London HS), from the EHOVE Industrial Tech Class of 2015, was one of two students who did a large percentage of welding on the project.  He and Class of 2015 Industrial Tech classmate, Charlie Collas (Edison HS), first received training in their EHOVE program.  Next, they worked directly with expert NASA technicians to learn advanced techniques in welding aluminum.  Both earned a certification from NASA to validate their skills to gain clearance to work on the project.

“It opened up doors for me, working with NASA,” said Tomblin who began working in his career field at Norwalk Precast Molds right after graduation.  “It is just a remarkable experience and I never thought I’d ever be able to do something like this.”

“We’re really here to celebrate together as we touch the future,” said Congresswoman Kaptur who discussed the vital need of projects such as these that harness the energy of the sun to carry America forward in a positive energy direction.  “I really celebrate the students who are here.  I’m excited for you, I’m excited for EHOVE and what you are doing, putting technology and the future to practical applications which our country so very much needs.”

Mounted on a 16-foot trailer, the mobile power plant can produce three kilowatts of power. Its solar panel arrays cover 512 square feet when opened and can be retracted for transport. It shares the same technology used in Glenn’s 1-kilowatt system, originally designed for moon-based applications.

NASA’s collaboration with EHOVE continues the agency’s efforts of investing in the nation’s education programs and supporting the country’s educators who prepare, inspire, excite and encourage the young minds of today who will be the workforce of tomorrow.

To find out more about the project, watch the video on EHOVE’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EHOVEworks or look for the story airing soon on NASA TV.  A full album of event photos is also available at www.Facebook.com/EHOVEworks.  Even more information is available on NASA Glenn’s Twitter @NASAglenn and website at www.NASA.gov/glenn.