Nonprofit organization Base 11 has announced it has given Morgan State University a three-year, $1.6 million Aerospace Workforce and Leadership Development Grant that will support Morgan State’s rocketry lab and establish a student rocketry team.
The commercial space industry is predicted to become a $2.7 trillion economic section in the next three decades, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. However, the space industry is currently finding it difficult to recruit a diverse workforce.
African-Americans make up only 5 percent of the science and engineering workforce, according to the National Science Foundation.
“We want to ensure that the next generation of space innovators is just as diverse as America,” said former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. “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.”
The grant will support the expansion of a liquid-fuel rocketry lab at the university, in addition to the recruitment and hiring of an aerospace faculty leader to develop a world-class liquid fuel rocketry program, according to Morgan State News.
The university hopes to successfully construct and launch a liquid fuel rocket that reaches 150,000 feet by 2022.
We are honored that Morgan State University was selected for this competitive grant, and confident that it will further advance our efforts to increase diversity in the STEM talent pipeline, while also turning out workforce-ready talent in high-demand industries like aerospace,” said Morgan State president Dr. David Wilson. “At Morgan we encourage our students to be bold and to aim for the stars, and with the launch of this program, we can provide them with the resources to take on that challenge literally.”