The Michigan Exploration Laboratory (MXL) works to achieve a comprehensive blend of education, research, and entrepreneurship within the University of Michigan College of Engineering.  The collaborative MXL environment has already yielded flight-proven achievements in high altitude ballooning and small satellite design, with even more innovations resulting from the analysis of completed missions.

Prof. Cutler and the RAX team, performing pre-launch tests.
Prof. Cutler and the RAX team, performing pre-launch tests.

Based in the department of aerospace engineering, MXL brings together students from across a multitude of academic engineering disciplines in order to create a finely tuned and well-balanced engineering design and development team. By working with such a diversely populated team on real missions, students are afforded the opportunity to cultivate their own strengths and interests while learning key teambuilding and communication skills.

The structure of MXL is exceptional among student engineering groups at Michigan in that it contains diversity not only in skill, but also in management. Students take on serious leadership roles, such as project manager and subsystem leaders. These roles prepare students to not only excel at their own tasks, but to learn how to delegate responsibility to the appropriate skill and leadership level.

(Images © The Michigan Exploration Laboratory)