Morgan State University announced this a week a new three-year, $1.6 million partnership with nonprofit STEM entrepreneurship organization Base 11 to launch a rocketry lab and student aerospace engineering team at the flagship HBCU.
The check was presented to university officials by former NASA astronatur Leland Melvin, as part of an effort to spur diversity in the aerospace development pipeline.
“We want to ensure that the next generation of space innovators is just as diverse as America,” said Melvin, a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions. “I am excited to see this generation of students getting critical hands-on experience in rocket technology, and I encourage Morgan State’s students to seize this incredible opportunity to reach for the stars.”
Morgan State was selected from a pool of eight historically black institutions competing for the grant, which was launched in June 2018. Officials say the program will fund the infrastructure for on-campus liquid-fuel rocketry and support faculty recruitment and hiring.
Officials expect that students will help to build a liquid fuel rocket that will be able to fly 150,000 feet by 2022.
“The proposals for the HBCU Aerospace Workforce and Leadership Development Grant were quite impressive,” said Base 11 Chairman and CEO Landon Taylor. “Morgan State is especially well positioned to leverage their existing resources, faculty expertise, and industry partners to launch a successful and sustainable rocketry program that brings hands-on, experiential learning to students.”