Morgan State gets an aerospace thrust with $1.6 million rocketry lab grant

The HBCU is attempting to be a leading school in rocket technology and is already well-positioned to take on that challenge, said officials with the non-profit awarding the grant

Morgan State

Students at Baltimore HBCU Morgan State University will soon have the opportunity to diversify space exploration and aerospace.

Morgan State has received a $1.6 million aerospace grant that will allow the school to complete a liquid-fuel rocketry lab and to recruit and hire a faculty aerospace leader to create a world-class program in liquid fuel rocketry, according to the Philadelphia Tribune.  The school is looking to build and launch a liquid fuel rocket than can reach 150,000 feet by 2022, the news organization reports.

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Morgan State was among a field of eight schools that were part of the grant selection process. The grant comes from Base 11 a nonprofit organization and sci-tech workforce and entrepreneur acceleration company based in Costa Mesa, Calif.

While the grant applications were impressive, Morgan State was unique in that it is in a good position to use existing resources, faculty expertise and industry partners, Base 11 chairman and CEO Landon Taylor told the Tribune.

The school is excited to begin applying the work that the grant will allow it to do, Dr. Willie May, vice president of research and economic development at Morgan State, told the Tribune.

“With this very generous grant, we will bring together a cross-disciplinary team of faculty and external collaborators to develop and prepare our students for future opportunities in the commercial aerospace industry,” May said. “This is an area loaded with opportunities for innovation and creativity and in need of a more diverse workforce.”

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Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin attended the check presentation ceremony on Wednesday.

“We want to insure that the next generation of space innovators is just as diverse as America,” Melvin said. “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.”