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NASA announced Thursday that Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is safely in orbit heading for the International Space Station following the launch of the next-generation spacecraft on a mission designed to test the end-to-end capabilities of the crew-capable system. According to NASA, the Starliner spacecraft is scheduled to dock at 7:10 p.m. on Friday, May 20.

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The spacecraft is carrying more than 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies to the space station. In June 2021, Boeing announced that the deep legacy of 14 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will be onboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as it embarks on its mission to orbit for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Flags, small pennants, and other items representing select HBCUs from throughout the U.S. are part of the hundreds of pounds of cargo for Boeing Starliner’s second Orbital Flight Test. (Photo Credit: John Proferes.)

“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,” Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said in the June statement. “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.”

HBCUs with which Boeing has recruiting relationships include those with ABET-accredited engineering schools at Alabama A&M University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University and A&M College, Tennessee State University, and Tuskegee University.

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