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Morgan B. Abney

NASA Technical Fellow for Environmental Control and Life Support

Dr. Morgan B. Abney received a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2003 and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2007.  Throughout her career, Dr. Abney has been involved in research projects directly related to Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS).  While completing her undergraduate work, she participated in research aimed at producing ion-exchanged zeolites for carbon dioxide removal studies in support of technology development for the International Space Station (ISS).  During her graduate study, Dr. Abney conducted research exploring screens and monolithic structures designed to help mitigate dusting from the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly aboard ISS.  Dr. Abney joined NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in September 2008 as Lead of the Exploration Life Support Carbon Dioxide Reduction project.  In 2009, Dr. Abney participated in professional rotations at Johnson Space Center evaluating water filters in support of the ISS Water Purification Assembly and at Kennedy Space Center supporting biocide evaluation for life support water storage tanks. From 2009 to mid-2016, Dr. Abney was dedicated to the development of new and existing technologies for the recovery of oxygen from metabolic carbon dioxide.  This work included the evaluation and testing of ISS-evolved technologies including Sabatier post-processors as well as novel and ISS-alternative approaches such as Bosch and electrolytic technologies. Further, Dr. Abney provided technical oversight and guidance to numerous commercial oxygen recovery development efforts. These efforts resulted in collaborations with colleagues in industry, academia, national laboratories, international partners, and other government agencies. In 2012, Dr. Abney was the first NASA engineer to be awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and received the Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal in 2016 as a direct result of her technology development efforts in life support systems. Since 2009, Dr. Abney has been an enthusiastic and dedicated proponent for the dissemination of life support technical data via the International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES). In this forum, Dr. Abney has published over 35 peer-reviewed conference publications. In 2017, Dr. Abney was selected by the ICES American Institute of Chemical Engineers steering committee to serve as chair (active until 2026).  In 2016, Dr. Abney spent five months in Office of the Center Chief Technologist at MSFC in the role of Deputy Chief Technologist where she interfaced across the agency to advance innovation and foster technology development across multiple fields. In February of 2017, Dr. Abney returned to the ECLSS Development Branch at MSFC where she served first as the Assistant Branch Chief, then as the Branch Chief helping guide the organization during development of multiple Exploration flight projects including the Four-Bed Carbon Dioxide (4BCO2) scrubber, upgrades to the Urine Processing Assembly, and the Advanced Oxygen Generation Assembly. In January 2020, Dr. Abney joined the NESC as the ECLSS Technical Fellow.