NASA engineers, seen here in mission control during Apollo 13, worked diligently to protect the lives of the astronauts on the mission.
|Activity sectors||aeronautics, astronautics, science|
|Competencies||technical knowledge, management skills|
|Education required||see professional requirements|
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the research, design, development, construction, testing, science and technology of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The former deals with aircraft that operate in Earth's atmosphere, and the latter with spacecraft that operate outside it.
Aerospace engineering deals with the design, construction, and study of the science behind the forces and physical properties of aircraft, rockets, flying craft, and spacecraft. The field also covers their aerodynamic characteristics and behaviors, airfoil, control surfaces, lift, drag, and other properties.
Aeronautical engineering was the original term for the field. As flight technology advanced to include craft operating in outer space, the broader term "aerospace engineering" has largely replaced it in common usage. Aerospace engineering, particularly the astronautics branch, is often referred to colloquially as "rocket science", although this is a popular misnomer.
Flight vehicles are subjected to demanding conditions such as those produced by extreme changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature, with structural loads applied upon vehicle components. Consequently, they are usually the products of various technological and engineering disciplines including aerodynamics, propulsion, avionics, materials science, structural analysis and manufacturing. The interaction between these technologies is known as aerospace engineering. Because of the number of disciplines involved, aerospace engineering is carried out by teams of engineers, each having their own specialised area of expertise.
The development and manufacturing of a modern flight vehicle is an extremely complex process and demands careful balance and compromise between abilities, design, available technology and costs. Aerospace engineers design, test, and supervise the manufacture of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space.
The origin of aerospace engineering can be traced back to the aviation pioneers around the late 19th to early 20th centuries, although the work of Sir George Cayley has recently been dated as being from the last decade of the 18th to mid-19th century. One of the most important people in the history of aeronautics, Cayley was a pioneer in aeronautical engineering and is credited as the first person to separate the forces of lift and drag, which are in effect on any flight vehicle. Early knowledge of aeronautical engineering was largely empirical with some concepts and skills imported from other branches of engineering. Scientists understood some key elements of aerospace engineering, like fluid dynamics, in the 18th century. Many years later after the successful flights by the Wright brothers, the 1910s saw the development of aeronautical engineering through the design of World War I military aircraft.
The first definition of aerospace engineering appeared in February 1958. The definition considered the Earth's atmosphere and the outer space as a single realm, thereby encompassing both aircraft (aero) and spacecraft (space) under a newly coined word aerospace. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was founded in 1958 as a response to the Cold War. United States aerospace engineers launched the first American satellite on January 31, 1958 in response to the USSR launching Sputnik on October 4, 1957.
|This section requires expansion with: newer history, including recent events. (November 2009)|
- Fluid mechanics – the study of fluid flow around objects. Specifically aerodynamics concerning the flow of air over bodies such as wings or through objects such as wind tunnels (see also lift and aeronautics).
- Astrodynamics – the study of orbital mechanics including prediction of orbital elements when given a select few variables. While few schools in the United States teach this at the undergraduate level, several have graduate programs covering this topic (usually in conjunction with the Physics department of said college or university).
- Statics and Dynamics (engineering mechanics) – the study of movement, forces, moments in mechanical systems.
- Mathematics – in particular, calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.
- Electrotechnology – the study of electronics within engineering.
- Propulsion – the energy to move a vehicle through the air (or in outer space) is provided by internal combustion engines, jet engines and turbomachinery, or rockets (see also propeller and spacecraft propulsion). A more recent addition to this module is electric propulsion and ion propulsion.
- Control engineering – the study of mathematical modeling of the dynamic behavior of systems and designing them, usually using feedback signals, so that their dynamic behavior is desirable (stable, without large excursions, with minimum error). This applies to the dynamic behavior of aircraft, spacecraft, propulsion systems, and subsystems that exist on aerospace vehicles.
- Aircraft structures – design of the physical configuration of the craft to withstand the forces encountered during flight. Aerospace engineering aims to keep structures lightweight.
- Materials science – related to structures, aerospace engineering also studies the materials of which the aerospace structures are to be built. New materials with very specific properties are invented, or existing ones are modified to improve their performance.
- Solid mechanics – Closely related to material science is solid mechanics which deals with stress and strain analysis of the components of the vehicle. Nowadays there are several Finite Element programs such as MSC Patran/Nastran which aid engineers in the analytical process.
- Aeroelasticity – the interaction of aerodynamic forces and structural flexibility, potentially causing flutter, divergence, etc.
- Avionics – the design and programming of computer systems on board an aircraft or spacecraft and the simulation of systems.
- Software – the specification, design, development, test, and implementation of computer software for aerospace applications, including flight software, ground control software, test & evaluation software, etc.
- Risk and reliability – the study of risk and reliability assessment techniques and the mathematics involved in the quantitative methods.
- Noise control – the study of the mechanics of sound transfer.
- Aeroacoustics – the study of noise generation via either turbulent fluid motion or aerodynamic forces interacting with surfaces.
- Flight test – designing and executing flight test programs in order to gather and analyze performance and handling qualities data in order to determine if an aircraft meets its design and performance goals and certification requirements.
The basis of most of these elements lies in theoretical physics, such as fluid dynamics for aerodynamics or the equations of motion for flight dynamics. There is also a large empirical component. Historically, this empirical component was derived from testing of scale models and prototypes, either in wind tunnels or in the free atmosphere. More recently, advances in computing have enabled the use of computational fluid dynamics to simulate the behavior of fluid, reducing time and expense spent on wind-tunnel testing. Those studying hydrodynamics or Hydroacoustics often obtained degrees in Aerospace Engineering.
Additionally, aerospace engineering addresses the integration of all components that constitute an aerospace vehicle (subsystems including power, aerospace bearings, communications, thermal control, life support, etc.) and its life cycle (design, temperature, pressure, radiation, velocity, lifetime).
Aerospace engineering worldwide 
Aerospace engineering may be studied at the advanced diploma, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. levels in aerospace engineering departments at many universities, and in mechanical engineering departments at others. A few departments offer degrees in space-focused astronautical engineering.
United States of America 
The programs of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rutgers University, and University of Southern California are examples of American schools. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked the undergraduate aerospace engineering programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan as the top three best programs at doctorate granting universities in the United States. The other programs in the top ten were Purdue University, California Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, University of Illinois, Stanford University, University of Texas at Austin, and Virginia Tech in that order. The magazine also rates Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the United States Air Force Academy, and the United States Naval Academy as the premier aerospace engineering programs at universities that do not grant doctorate degrees. University of Kansas School of Engineering has earned more first and second place AIAA awards than any other academic institution in the world in the 42-year history of the competition. Wichita State University is renowned for its Aerospace Engineering program and also has the third highest research budget for Aerospace Engineering in the United States.
In Canada, undergraduate degrees in aerospace (or aeronautical) engineering can be earned at Carleton University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, École de Technologie Supérieure, the Royal Military College of Canada and Ryerson University. Undergraduate aerospace engineering options, or related programs, are available through Concordia University, McGill University, the University of Manitoba and the University of Toronto. The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board is responsible for accrediting undergraduate aerospace engineering programs, graduate study in aerospace engineering is also available at several Canadian post-secondary institutions, though Canadian post-graduate engineering programs do not require accreditation.
European universities that are renowned for their teaching and expertise in aerospace engineering include TU Delft in the Netherlands, ISAE, ENAC, IPSA and ESTACA in France, RWTH Aachen, TU München, the University of Stuttgart, TU Dresden, TU Berlin and TU Braunschweig as well as Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and the Munich University of Applied Science in Germany, and the Centre for Structure Technologies at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In Austria the FH Joanneum and the of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. In Portugal at the Universidade da Beira Interior and the Instituto Superior Técnico. In Spain the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the Universidad de León, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Universitat Politècnica de Valencia and University of Seville offer the degree, while in Italy there also several universities where aerospace engineering can be studied including the Politecnico di Torino, the Politecnico di Milano, the University of Bologna, the University of Pisa, the University of Napoli, the University of Padua and the Sapienza University of Rome. In Eastern Europe they are the Politehnica University of Bucharest in Romania, the Technical Military Academy of Bucharest in Romania the University of Belgrade in Serbia, the Warsaw University of Technology and Rzeszów University of Technology in Poland and Brno University of Technology in Brno, Czech Republic. The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands offers one of the top European aerospace educational and research platforms.
United Kingdom 
In the UK, Aerospace (or aeronautical) engineering can be studied at the B.Eng., M.Eng., MSc. and Ph.D. levels at a number of universities. The first institution in the UK to teach in this field was Queen Mary, University of London, which, with the dissolution of the University of Paris (whose chair was founded at around the same time), maintains the longest continuous experience of doing so in the world. The The Times' top 10 universities are University of Cambridge, University of Surrey, University of Bristol, University of Southampton, Queens University Belfast, University of Sheffield, Newcastle University, University of Bath, Imperial College London, Loughborough University and University of Nottingham for 2010. The Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London is noted for providing engineers for the Formula One industry, an industry that uses aerospace technology.
Aerospace can be studied at University of Limerick in Ireland.
In Australia, the RMIT University offers Aerospace (or aeronautical) engineering and has more than 60 years teaching experience in this profession. Monash University, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, University of Adelaide and Queensland University of Technology also offers Aerospace Engineering.
In China Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University is a regional leader in the field of aerospace engineering education. Ningbo University of Aeronautics and Beijing University
In India Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is well known for its Aerospace Engineering department, which offers degrees at post-graduate level. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is credited to have been the nucleus point and incubation center for various leading academic and industrial aerospace related organizations in India. IIT Kanpur possesses its own flight test aircraft and airfield for students in the discipline, while three other IITs also offer degrees in this discipline (Madras, Bombay and Kharagpur). PEC Institute of Technology, Chandigarh, Indian Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, Dehradun and Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai are two premier non-IIT colleges which offer courses in Aeronautical Engineering. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Trivandrum sponsored by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses focusing on aeronautics, astronautics and space sciences. It was started in the year 2007 and has produced three batches till now, all who have joined to serve ISRO as Scientist/Engineers. Amrita University Coimbatore is another institute in private sector that offers Bachelor degree in Aerospace Engineering. Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur has offered an undergraduate Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aerospace Engineering since academic year 2010. University of Petroleum and Energy Studies and Indian Institute of aeronautical engineering, Dehradun also one of the leading institute. Indira Gandhi National Open University has offered an undergraduate Bachelor of Technology degree in Aerospace Engineering started in academic year 2009. The Manav Rachna International University is an established institute and has a 4-year full-time B.Tech. degree in Aeronautical Engineering. NIMS University, Rangapur offers B.Tech and M.Tech degrees in Aerospace Engineering. The Alliance University College of Engineering and Design is an established institute in the city of Bangalore and provides the students with a 4-year full-time B.Tech. degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Hindustan University-Chennai offers degrees aeronautics.
In Brazil the B.Sc, M.Sc and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering are offered by the some prestigious Universities like: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina – UFSC at Joinville campus, Universidade Federal do ABC – UFABC at Sao Bernardo do Campo campus, Universidade de São Paulo – USP at São Carlos campus, Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica – ITA and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG. The admission for these courses features among the most difficult in Brazil, partly due to its competitive Vestibular (similar to ACT and SAT in USA).
Middle East 
Universities that offers Aerospace Engineering degrees include Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Israel (B.Sc, M.Sc, M.Eng, Phd), the Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, and Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran.
In Pakistan Aerospace Engineering can be studied at National University of Sciences and Technology at (CAE), at PAF Academy in Risalpur & at Air University which is Pakistan's only university that grants a Doctorate degree in Aerospace Engineering & Avionics Engineering. In 2002, SUPARCO established IST which is a federally chartered public sector institute of Pakistan offering under graduate and graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering. The MS degree at IST is being offered in collaboration with Beihang University (BUAA), China and Seoul National University, South Korea.
In Africa the only University that offers an undegraduate BSc in Aeronautical Engineering is the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. They also offer a MSc and PhD in Aeronautical engineering.
Quality Management 
Nadcap is the leading worldwide cooperative program of major companies designed to manage a cost-effective consensus approach to special processes and products and provide continual improvement within the aerospace and automotive industries. The Nadcap program guarantees a worldwide recognized uniform standard of quality upon which the aerospace industry can rely during component construction and testing processes.
In popular culture 
The term "rocket scientist" is sometimes used to describe a person of great intelligence since "rocket science" is seen as a practice requiring great mental ability, especially technical and mathematical ability.
The term is often used mockingly, such as in the expression "it's not rocket science" to indicate that the task is simple.
Strictly speaking, the use of the word "science" in "rocket science" is a misnomer since science is about understanding the origins, nature, and behavior of the universe; engineering is about using scientific and engineering principles to solve problems and develop new technology. However, the media and the public often incorrectly use "science" and "engineering" as synonyms.
See also 
|At Wikiversity you can learn more and teach others about Aerospace engineering at:|
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
- Flight test
- List of aerospace engineering topics
- List of aerospace engineers
- List of Russian aerospace engineers
- Sigma Gamma Tau (aerospace engineering honor society)
- Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering. Wiley & Sons. October 2010. ISBN 978-0-470-75440-5.
- Stanzione, Kaydon Al (1989). "Engineering". Encyclopædia Britannica 18 (15 ed.). Chicago. pp. 563–563.
- Longuski, Jim (2004). Advice to Rocket Scientists: A Career Survival Guide for Scientists and Engineers. Reston, Virginia: AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). p. 2. ISBN 1-56347-655-X. "If you have a degree in aerospace engineering or in astronautics, you are a rocket scientist."
- "Career: Aerospace Engineer". Career Profiles. The Princeton Review. Retrieved 2006-10-08. "Due to the complexity of the final product, an intricate and rigid organizational structure for production has to be maintained, severely curtailing any single engineer's ability to understand his role as it relates to the final project."
- "Sir George Cayley". ?. Retrieved 2009-07-26. "Sir George Cayley is one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics. Many consider him the first true scientific aerial investigator and the first person to understand the underlying principles and forces of flight."
- "Sir George Cayley (British Inventor and Scientist)". Britannica. ?. Retrieved 2009-07-26. "English pioneer of aerial navigation and aeronautical engineering and designer of the first successful glider to carry a human being aloft."
- "The Pioneers: Aviation and Airmodelling". ?. Retrieved 2009-07-26. "Sir George Cayley is sometimes called the 'Father of Aviation'. A pioneer in the field, he is credited with the first major breakthrough in heavier-than-air flight. He was the first to identify the four aerodynamic forces of flight – weight, lift, drag, and thrust – and their relationship and also the first to build a successful human carrying glider."
- Kermit Van Every (1988). "Aeronautical engineering". Encyclopedia Americana 1. Grolier Incorporated.
- "A Brief History of NASA". Hq.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- "Science: Engineering: Aerospace". Open Site. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- Gruntman, Mike (September 19, 2007). "The Time for Academic Departments in Astronautical Engineering". AIAA SPACE 2007 Conference & Exposition Agenda. AIAA SPACE 2007 Conference & Exposition. AIAA.
- America's Best Colleges 2009: Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical (where doctorate is highest degree). USNews.com
- America's Best Colleges 2009: Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical (where doctorate not offered). USNews.com
- "Aerospace engineering graduates win top awards at international competition – KU News". News.ku.edu. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- "Youtube.com". Youtube.com. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- Mentornet.net[dead link]
- Canadian Council of Professional Engineers
- "IST MSc in Aerospace Engineering". Fenix.ist.utl.pt. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- "Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Admissions". Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering Department History". Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Post. "University Rankings League Table 2009". Extras.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- "Grandpix.com: The Imperial College". Grandprix.com. 1999-11-29. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- "Amrita University". Amrita.edu. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- Solutions for the Aerospace Industry SGS Germany GmbH, Retrieved 03/27/2013
- Bailey, Charlotte (7 November 2008). "Oxford compiles list of top ten irritating phrases". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-11-18. "10 - It's not rocket science"
- . IEEE Spectrum, December 2010.
- International Journal of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
- NDTAeroTech.com, The Online Community for Aerospace NDT Professionals
- Building an Aeroplane – FlyDubai