The Program

ABEX: The Largest Collegiate Satellite Program in the World

ABEX is an educational mission uniting 1 NASA center, 7 colleges and universities, 12 faculty, and up to 19 graduate students with undergraduate teams to create the largest collegiate spacecraft project in the world and serve as a model for education-centric spacecraft development. Students working in a multidisciplinary and geographically dispersed environment co-lead all aspects of the project and are provided supporting classes with ABEX-specific coursework. ABEX also conducts outreach to underrepresented groups in aerospace through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The student involvement in ABEX requires strong management structures and clear lines of authority; ABEX activities are coordinated around a Work Breakdown Structure adapted from NASA/SP-2016-3404. Undergraduates are managed by graduates overseen by faculty with project leadership from the Principal Investigator through the Project Manager and Chief Engineer. Supporting management roles are the Lead Systems Engineer and Chief Scientist. All teams are technically supported by the Science Advisory Board and Subject Matter Expert panel. The Alabama Space Grant Consortium assists with outreach, student activities, and university negotiations to promote ABEX educational goals. The ABEX team hierarchy is shown below. Graduate students outside of management roles are allocated to design, operations, and integration & test teams.

ABEX organization chart