HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — A teen at Hawthorne High School has helped make parts that will head to outer space.

The school is one of seven across the country working on building hardware for NASA, reports CBS2/KCAL9’s Jo Kwon.

And Alex Lopez, 18, is now ready to see his 3-D code go to work.

3-D modeling is something Alex says he had never seen before coming here to Hawthorne High’s School of Manufacturing and Engineering in 9th grade.

“The first time I saw it, it was … I had no idea what the little lines meant,” he said.

Now, the Hawthorne High senior’s skills have NASA’s stamp of approval. Through a partnership program, he’s made parts for the space agency that will be used for handrails and footrails for astronauts in space. They passed inspection the first time around.

“I was definitely excited,” he said.

Being a part of the program means having serious dedication. Alex has to get to school hours early and stay hours late every day. But, Alex says, that has been the easiest part.

“There was never a day where I was like, ‘Oh man, I don’t want to go to school. I don’t want to do this,'” he said.

And it paid off. Teacher Lucas Pacheco says it’s not clear which space mission the parts will be used for.

“But we have been told it will probably go up in a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station,” he said, adding he could not be prouder of Alex.

“I’ve always had a dream of saying Hawthorne High can put something in space,” he said. “And Alex helped me do that.”

And Alex is already on his way to another goal: becoming an engineer for an aerospace company.

“This is a whole world I had never been exposed to, and I keep falling in love with it,” he said.

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