Aisha Bowe, 1st Black woman to travel to space with Jeff Bezos, gets billion-dollar contract: report

Mildred Europa Taylor June 06, 2023
Aisha Bowe, a Bahamian-American who is a former NASA rocket scientist. Photo: Aisha Bowe/Instagram

Months after it was announced that Aisha Bowe will be the first Black woman to travel on a commercial flight to space with Blue Origin founded by Jeff Bezos, Bowe has made it big in entrepreneurship.

The former rocket scientist, who is behind three multimillion-dollar businesses, recently secured a billion-dollar government contract, according to The news platform reports that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has awarded a new $947 million contract designed to “provide support to NGA’s total lifecycle acquisition management, strategic financial management and strategic business management activities to Exacta Solutions.”

In 2022 when it was disclosed that Bahamian-American Bowe would be making history with Bezos, she was preparing to become the sixth Black woman to cross the Karman line, the internationally recognized boundary of space. Bowe’s historic flight was announced decades after former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to travel to space in 1992. There have been only four other Black women to go to space — Joan Higginbotham, Jessica Watkins, Stephanie Wilson, and Dr. Sian Proctor of the SpaceX Inspiration4 Mission.

“I’ve dedicated my life to helping people break stereotypes,” said Bowe at the time. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of these pioneers as we begin to realize the potential of public access to space.”

While in high school, Bowe was advised by a counselor to pursue cosmetology but she knew she wanted more than that. So she decided to study mathematics at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor before transferring to the University of Michigan where she earned both an undergraduate and master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

Bowe went on to work for NASA as a rocket scientist and served as a State Department global speaker, becoming an inspiration to many young people all over the world. Being a serial entrepreneur, she was recognized on Inc.’s fifth annual Female Founders 100 list, which honors a group of 100 women whose innovations are making the world a better place. Her award-winning tech company STEMBoard was ranked on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America.

What’s more, Bowe is also one of a select group of Black women who have raised over $1 million in funding. The aerospace engineer’s LINGO, a venture capital-backed enterprise made up of 57% women, helps students to learn how to code at home and is currently sold on Amazon, Target, and Walmart. In January this year, Virginia Business Magazine recognized Bowe as an honoree for their Inaugural Black Business Leaders Awards.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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