École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace
- This article is about one of two French engineering schools called ENSAE. For alternative uses of ENSAE see the page ENSAE.
|Location||Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France|
|Affiliations||French Ministry of Defence, GEA|
SUPAERO - École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace ® ("SUPAERO", translated as "National Higher School of Aeronautics and Space"), founded in 1909, was one of the grandes écoles in France. It was the world's first dedicated aerospace engineering school and is considered to be one of the best in Europe in that field. SUPAERO's mascot is the little owl (Athene noctua), a symbol of wisdom sacred to the goddess Athena.
From 2007 onwards, SUPAERO no longer exists as a separate institution but is grouped together with ENSICA to form a new aeronautical school: Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace (ISAE-SUPAERO). The aim of this move was to increase the international visibility of both of the two schools (which depend from the French Ministry of Defense), by sharing their faculty and experimental means. The enrolment process for students, the courses, and the final diploma retain a distinction between graduates of the ENSICA track and the SUPAERO track.
Since its founding in 1909 SUPAERO has produced more than 11,000 graduates; some of them have achieved fame in their field, including: Henri Coandă, the discoverer of the Coanda effect; Henri Ziegler, father of the Airbus program; Frédéric d'Allest, first chairman of Arianespace; and Jean-François Clervoy (class of 1983), astronaut.
In 1909, an engineering officer, Colonel Jean-Baptiste Roche imagined the future prospects and uses that airplanes would have in the world, and founded the École supérieure d'aéronautique et de constructions mécaniques (Higher Aeronautics and Mechanical Building School) in Paris, boulevard Victor (which is now the campus of the ENSTA). The school became in 1930 the École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique (National Higher School of Aeronautics); then, in 1972, it was called the École Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace or, more simply, SUPAERO, which is the name most associated with the school.
In 1968 SUPAERO was relocated to the aerospace complex in Toulouse, at the heart of a world-class scientific and industrial environment. On the same site, a large research center called the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches de Toulouse (CERT, the Study and Research Center of Toulouse) was built at the same time. This center, associated with the School, has become the Toulouse center of the ONERA (National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research). It carries out research directed by and towards the highly demanding aeronautical, aerospace and defence sectors. Nearby SUPAERO are also located the ENAC (the French National Higher School for Civilian Air Transport), the CNES (the French space agency) and the CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research).
In 1994, SUPAERO became a public institution of an administrative nature under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense. It has a Board of Directors.
In 2007, SUPAERO merged with ENSICA, another aerospace engineering school from Toulouse, so as to achieve a critical mass or size which will give more international visibility. The new entity is called the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO). The two schools, however, retain their recruitment process for the student body and deliver two separate diplomas.
SUPAERO also offers specialization programs for engineering students from École polytechnique and is authorized to award the degree of Doctor of the National Higher School of Air and Space engineering, with its own seal.
During the 5 years preceding the first world war, SUPAERO produced 303 qualified engineers, 52 of which were foreigners. Among them are found some great names in aeronautics:
- Raoul Badin (class of 1910), one of the main inventors of the airspeed indicator and forefather of instrument flying.
- Henri Coandă (class of 1910), discovered the Coandă Effect.
- Henry Potez (class of 1911), founder of the Potez airplanes company,
- Mikhail Gurevich (class of 1913), founder of MiG aircraft.
- Marcel Bloch-Dassault (class of 1913), founder of the Dassault airplanes company,
- André Couzinet (class of 1925), who conceived the Arc-en-Ciel (the mythical plane flown by Jean Mermoz), and also invented the retractable landing gear and the modern yoke.
- Henri Ziegler (class of 1931) father of the Airbus program,
- Guy du Merle (class of 1932), first director-general of the École nationale de l'aviation civile (French civil aviation university),
- François Hussenot (class of 1935), inventor of the "hussenographe" (an early form of Flight data recorder or "black box"); also involved in the creation of EPNER.
- Serge Dassault (class of 1951), CEO of Dassault Aviation,
- Jean Bastien-Thiry (class of 1952), famous for his assassination attempt on French president Charles de Gaulle in 1962,
- Frédéric d'Allest (class of 1966) first chairman of Arianespace,
- Jean-François Clervoy (class of 1983), astronaut.
- Thomas Pesquet (class of 2001), astronaut.
References and footnotes
- Once a nickname, the name SUPAERO (in capitals) is now endorsed by the school as part of a trademark (no. 03 3 239 011 deposited on July 30, 2003 at INPI), now belonging to ISAE-SUPAERO (http://bases-marques.inpi.fr/Typo3_INPI_Marques/getPdf?idObjet=3239011_201236_fmark).
- ENSICA-SUPAERO merger project (in French)