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Southern among 14 HBCUs to 'travel' on Boeing spacecraft in NASA mission

The deep legacy of Southern University and 13 fellow Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be onboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as it embarks on its second mission to orbit for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Flags, small pennants and other items representing select HBCUs from throughout the U.S. will be part of the hundreds of pounds of cargo inside the uncrewed spacecraft for Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2).

"Closing representation gaps in our company and our industry is a priority for Boeing, and inspiring diverse students to pursue careers in aerospace is an important part of that effort," said Boeing president and CEO David Calhoun. "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.”

In addition to Southern, represented universities — with which Boeing also has a recruiting relationship — are Allen University in South Carolina, 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, D.C.; Morgan State University in Maryland; North Carolina A&T; Prairie View A&M University in Texas; South Carolina State University; Tennessee State University and Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Southern and Boeing in September 2020 signed an 18-month NASA Mentor-Protégé agreement to work together on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program.  Boeing will provide tactical business and technical support to Southern University to improve its ability to win NASA contracts and subcontracts. The university already supplies alumni engineering skills to Boeing for SLS at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The SLS is the world’s most powerful rocket. It will launch NASA’s Artemis missions to the moon, Mars and beyond


For more on the Starliner launch, which is slated to occur in late July, click here