NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV)
A part of Tennessee State University will be onboard a mission to space on Friday.
Items from TSU and 13 other historically black colleges and universities will be onboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Friday as it embarks on its second mission to orbit for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is scheduled for 1:53 p.m. Central.
Flags, small pennants and other items representing select HBCUs from across the country will be part of the hundreds of pounds of cargo inside the unmanned spacecraft for Orbital Flight Test-2.
“Tennessee State University is proud to be among the 14 historically black colleges and universities that Boeing is recognizing on the second space flight of its CST-100 Starliner with flags, pennants and other items,” TSU President Glenda Glover said in a news release. “We are proud of our partnership with Boeing, which has led to internships and other opportunities that have propelled many of our students to successful careers. This recognition shows Boeing’s commitment to equity and inclusion, and highlights, once again, the importance of HBCUs.”
“Closing representation gaps in our company and industry is a priority for Boeing, and inspiring diverse students to pursue careers in aerospace is an important part of that effort,” Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said in a news release. “By representing HBCUs on our Starliner mission, we are demonstrating our commitment to working with these institutions to advance equity and inclusion and help ensure a bright future for their students.”
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering at TSU, said the university is fortunate to have Boeing’s continued investment.
“Boeing continues to invest in the students and the academic programs in the College of Engineering,” Hargrove said in a news release. “Their recent contribution will identify high achieving students to receive scholarships as recognized Boeing Scholars. In addition, funding will help support the student’s professional development in preparing for the workforce. This includes attending the national NSBE Conference, BEYA Conference and ongoing campus activities. Faculty will also use funds to help with course and curriculum development in topics relevant to the aircraft industry.”
Mister TSU Mark Davis said he’s glad to see HBCUs, in general, continue to be in the spotlight.
“It’s awesome,” Davis, a senior mass communications major from Cincinnati, OH, said in a news release. “Including TSU in this speaks a lot about not only our institution but highlights the national recognition HBCUs are continuing to receive.”
The higher education mementos will part of around 760 pounds of cargo flying inside the Starliner’s crew module when it launches to the International Space Station for OFT-2. The end-to-end test is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path toward flying crew missions for NASA.
Besides TSU, the represented universities with which Boeing also has a recruiting relationship are Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College, part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium; Alabama A&M University; Florida A&M University; Howard University in Washington, DC; Morgan State University in Maryland; North Carolina A&T; Prairie View A&M University in Texas; Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana, South Carolina State University; and Tuskegee University in Alabama.
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