Valley teen creates new tool for NASA astronauts

Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 22:52:32-04

A new tool is heading to the International Space Station and it’s all thanks to a Valley teen.

It’s call the Carabiner tool Clip and it was designed and built by 18-year-old Austin Suder from Scottsdale.

“It’s a clip that astronauts can clip to a tool bag or themselves or any part of the International Space Station but it also holds tools the astronauts might use on the International Space Station as well,” said Suder. “This one holds ratchets and sockets, and this one holds hex drivers.”

His winning design was for the ‘Two for the Crew’ Challenge put on by Future Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation, and help from NASA. The challenge asked students to invent a useful tool for astronauts living in space. Participants were asked to create a multifunctional object that combined two items into one to be 3D printed by astronauts on the ISS, and Austin’s invention is it. 

“It should be really cool when it’s up there,” said Suder.

The competition took months to judge as judges were looking at the manufacturability of the design and effective communication of the design. 

Austin used his own 3D printer and some pretty complex software to design his tool and test for durability, flexibility and efficiency. He came up with the concept after doing a lot of research.

“I looked into some research and into some of the NASA publishing’s and things like that and they’ve ended up losing tools on the International Space Station due to zero gravity,” said Suder.

Suder says his invention fixes that problem.

“Ultimately, it saves them a lot of money right? Tools – and if a tool gets lost it could potentially cost them the entire mission or the experiment,” he said. 

Over 500 designs were submitted from participants from across the country and Suder’s invention will be the one to take off into outer space.

His design is expected to be printed on the ISS within the next 9 months by Made in Space Inc.

Apart from winning the competition, Suder also received a 3D printer which he donated to Arcadia High School's robotics team that just recently won the Imagery Award in a robotics competition over the weekend. Suder will also be flown to Washington D.C. to learn about the history and future of space exploration.