Morgan State U. gets grant to start rocketry program

    Left to right: Base 11 Chairman & CEO Landon Taylor, Morgan State University President David Wilson and former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Courtesy: Morgan State University)

    BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A space program at Morgan State University? Not exactly, but the institution has received a major grant that it hopes to use to "build and launch a liquid fuel rocket that reaches 150,000 feet by 2022."

    The university announced Monday it has won a $1.6 million grant from Base 11, a nonprofit focused on increasing diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

    The grant will allow Morgan State to hopefully take part in the Base 11 Space Challenge, where universities will compete to be the first to design, build and launch a rocket to the edge of space (about 62 miles) by the end of 2021, according to a press release.

    Morgan State will use the grant to fund a state-of-the-art rocketry lab, hire an aerospace facultry leader and create a student rocketry team as part of a "world-class liquid fuel rocketry program."

    The grant was presented by former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, according to the press release. “We want to ensure that the next generation of space innovators is just as diverse as America,” he said in the statement.

    African-Americans make up just 5 percent of the science and engineering workforce, according to the National Science Foundation, said the university.

    Eight HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) submitted proposals for the three-year Aerospace Workforce and Leadership Development grant.

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