(photo courtesy LSC)

CYPRESS — One of Lone Star College-CyFair’s two award-winning space tool designs is now in the patent application process.


If successfully filed, Team C.R.A.T.E.R.’s (an acronym for Cultivating, Retrieving, Analyzing and Testing Experimental Rocks) design for a dust tolerant pivoting mechanism would be another milestone in LSC-CyFair’s history. In 2018, NASA developed a previous LSC-CyFair team’s award-winning zip-tie cutter tool for use by astronauts at the International Space Station.



Team C.R.A.T.E.R. member Kary Meadows, who is now studying aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University, said he is looking forward to the progression of the patent for several reasons, one being that it could be added to the team’s undergraduate resumes reflecting their hard work.


“And to be the engineers on a patent has immense implications to our future success in industry, not to mention the success it could have in not only aerospace applications, but also other industries,” said Meadows. “This could mean applying our device to industries such as shallow, ocean floor equipment repairs where tool dust tolerance in sandy environments is also just as important for their tools.”


Pursuing a patent on Team C.R.A.T.E.R.’s design comes after another year of meeting all the design goals listed for them by NASA, competing against primarily four-year universities and exceeding expectations, said Dr. Yiheng Wang, LSC-CyFair professor and advisor for the teams.


“I think it was remarkable that our teams persevered through it all, adapting to delays and presenting virtually when their journey was complicated by COVID,” she said.


Both LSC-CyFair’s Honors Engineering teams garnered top awards in multiple categories at the Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge. Team C.R.A.T.E.R. took first place in the fall, while Team C.O.S.M.O.S. (acronym for Collecting and Obtaining Scientific Moon Objects and Specimens) took first in the spring.


Both teams also co-participated in the nationwide NASA Micro-g NExT Program Design Challenge and advanced to the next level of that challenge. The competition year concluded last month when they remotely directed NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab divers in the successful testing of their tool prototypes.


“It was our privilege to watch and listen with pride, via NASA livestream, as our students guided divers through the testing phase,” said LSC-CyFair President Dr. Seelpa Keshvala. “These research and design challenges provided amazing opportunities for our students, and they did exceptional work all year.”


LSC-CyFair has one team of Honors students, Team CALYPSO, ready to take on the design challenges this year.

For information on LSC-CyFair’s Engineering Program, email Cy-FairEngineering@LoneStar.edu.

Helping more than 23,000 students reach their academic and career goals, Lone Star College-CyFair is the 5th comprehensive college in the Lone Star College System, located at 9191 Barker Cypress Road just three miles south of U.S. Highway 290. Start close and go far at LSC-CyFair as well as at LSC-Cypress Center, located at 19710 Clay Road and LSC-Westway Park Technology Center, located at 5060 Westway Park Boulevard. For more information about LSC-CyFair and its programs, call 281.290.3200 or visit LoneStar.edu/cyfair.


Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 93,000+ students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion. LSC consists of seven colleges, 10 centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.