École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace

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Type Grande école
Established 1909
Location Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France
Campus Suburban
Affiliations French Ministry of Defence, GEA
Mascot Little owl
Website www.isae-supaero.fr/en

ISAE-SUPAERO is a higher education and research Institute located in Toulouse, France. Overseen by the French Ministry of Defence, ISAE-SUPAERO was created from the merger of two renowned French engineering schools, SUPAERO and ENSICA.

The Institute delivers the following educational programs:

  • The ingénieur ISAE-SUPAERO program,
  • The joint CNAM-ISAE apprenticeship or co-op program,
  • An International Masters Program in Aerospace Engineering,
  • 6 Research Masters Programs,
  • 15 Advanced Masters Programs,
  • 6 Doctoral schools,
  • Continuing education programs.

Students accepted into the ingénieur ISAE-SUPAERO program are selected on the basis of their results on the Mines-Ponts competitive exam common to the most selective engineering schools in France. Since 2015, the Institute has been educating these students within the framework of a new common ISAE-SUPAERO engineering curriculum.

ISAE-SUPAERO is a school of application of l’Ecole Polytechnique and in particular it trains engineers of the armaments corps. It also trains military engineers with an aeronautics specialization once the latter have completed a first year at another French engineering school, ENSTA Bretagne, in Brest, France.

In 2011, ISAE founded Groupe ISAE with the engineering school, ENSMA. In 2012, Groupe ISAE was joined by ESTACA and by l’Ecole de l’Air.

The Institute also delivers continuing education through its subsidiary, EUROSAE.


ISAE-SUPAERO has the following missions: • To educate engineers in the aeronautics and space fields and in related areas • To engage in scientific research and technological Innovation • To deliver specialized graduate education and continuing education programs • To deliver doctoral programs and national degrees equivalent or superior to the Masters degree.

Legal status and organization[edit]

ISAE was created by decree 2007-1384 of 24 September, 2007.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence, and overseen by the DGA (the French Government Defence procurement agency), the Institute is a public institution with a scientific, cultural, and professional vocation. It is governed by articles R.3411-1 to R.3411-28 of the Defence Code and is accredited by the Engineering Education Commission. ISAE SUPAERO also delivers national Doctorate and Masters degrees and Advanced Masters degrees accredited by la Conférence des Grandes Ecoles, an organization whose members are the most prestigious business and engineering schools in France.

The Institute is governed by an Executive Board of 27 members, headed by the President. The Board meets three times a year. The Institute also has an educational board, a research board, and a continuing education board Members of the advisory boards come from within the Institute and academia and industry.

ISAE-SUPAERO has implemented an ISO 9001 quality management system (2008 version) for all of its activities (education, research and support).


History of ENSAE (École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace, or the National School of Aeronautics and Space) or "SupAéro"[edit]

The historic logo of the former SUPAERO school: the owl, associated with the Greek Goddess, Athena, is a symbol of knowledge. Today, the owl is still part of the ISAE SUPAERO logo.

In 1909, Colonel Jean-Baptiste Roche, a civil engineering officer and a graduate of l’Ecole Polytechnique, had the foresight and vision to anticipate the needs and future scope of the aeronautics industry in the world. Colonel Roche was the founder of l'École supérieure d'aéronautique et de constructions mécaniques, or the Higher School of Aeronautics and Mechanical Construction in Paris.

In 1930, the latter became « l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aeronautics », under the leadership of the renowned French engineer, Albert Caquot, and in 1972 it became l’Ecole nationale supérieure de l’aeronautique et de l’espace, or the Higher School of Aeronautics and Space, better known as “SUPAERO”. Also in 1930, the School moved to more modern buildings in « la Cité de l’Air », located boulevard Victor in Paris.

In 1968, SUPAERO moved to the vast aerospace hub of Toulouse-Lespinet, in the heart of a stimulating higher education and research environment, right near l’Ecole nationale de l’aviation civile, the School of Civil Aviation (ENAC), which was also transferred to Toulouse the same year. In 1970, the former Paris premises of the School were home to l'École nationale supérieure de techniques avancées (ENSTA ParisTech or the Higher School of Advanced Techniques ), until the latter moved to new premises on the campus of l'École Polytechnique in Palaiseau. They were transformed into the Conference Center of the Ministry of Defence.

Several research laboratories were created in affiliation with the School and regrouped around the Toulouse ONERA center. Today, affiliated with the School, it conducts theoretical and applied research in defence in a wide range of fields including aerodynamics, automatic control, advanced robotics, aerospace electronics, computer systems, aerospace vehicles, aerospace mechanics, and propulsive systems.

In 1975, SUPAERO was one of the first engineering schools in France to be accredited to deliver the doctoral degree.

In 1994, SUPAERO became a public body with legal personality reporting to the Ministry of Defence. In practice, the Institute is overseen by the DGA, Directorate General of Armaments (French Defence procurement agency) and under the direction of an “ingénieur général de l'armement”.

History of ENSICA (École nationale supérieure d'ingénieurs de constructions aéronautiques)[edit]

ENSICA was created in Paris at the time of the Liberation, under the name, « École nationale des travaux aéronautiques » (ENTA or the National School of Aeronautical Construction), in accordance with article 8 of the law on finance of 1946. The first graduating class included 25 students who would join the military corps of engineers specialized in aeronautics.

By decree of June 4th, 1957, the name of the School was changed to “l’École nationale d’ingénieurs des constructions aéronautiques (ENICA or the National School of Aeronautics Engineers). The degree program was extended to three years with a new focus on industry and a larger share of civilian students.

In 1961, ENICA was relocated to Toulouse. Under the leadership of the Director, Émile Blouin, the School acquired its own identity and a new dimension. The geographic link was cut with SUPAERO, which until then had housed the school on its premises, Boulevard Victor, in Paris. The building of a new student center on campus helped create a cohesive identity and bring together the different graduating classes.

In 1969, the School was affiliated with the common competitive exam for the top ranking engineering schools (ENSI). In 1979, the school was honored with the Medal of Aeronautics, awarded by the Engineer General of Armaments, Georges Bousquet. The same year, the School became known as l’école nationale supérieure d’ingénieurs de constructions aéronautiques (ENSICA or the Higher National School of Aeronautics Construction Engineers).

Creation of ISAE in 2007[edit]

In 2007, ENSAE SupAéro merged with ENSICA to create a single institution: l'Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace, or ISAE which brings together the two former schools’ resources and facilities in one common organization. In 2015, the ingénieur ISAE-SUPAERO degree program gave its name to the all school, which became ISAE-SUPAERO. As of the summer of 2015, all of the Institute’s facilities are now located together on the Rangueil campus.

Renowned alumni[edit]

  • Raoul Badin, S1910, inventor of the Badin, an instrument used to measure the speed of an aircraft
  • Henri Coandă, S1910, Romanian designer of the first jet plane
  • Henry Potez, S1911, builder of planes and founder of Potez Aeronautique
  • Marcel Dassault, S1913, builder of planes, founder of Dassault Aviation
  • Maurice Hurel, S1921, builder of planes
  • Alexander Kartveli, S1922, originally from Georgia, an expatriate in France and then the United States, designer of among others, Seversky P-35, P-47 Thunderbolt, F-84 Thunderjet and Thunderflash and F-105 Thunderchief.
  • René Couzinet, S1927, builder of planes
  • Henri Ziegler, X1926, S1931, a leading resistant during WWII, chef d'état-major of the FFI, Air force officer and test pilot, former director of Bréguet Aviation and of l’Aérospatiale
  • Henri Desbruères, X1927, S1932, former President of Snecma and former President of Bull-General Electric
  • Guy du Merle, X1927, S1932, former Director of l'École nationale de l'aviation civile (National School of Civil Aviation) from 1948 to 1951
  • François Hussenot, X1930, S1935, inventor of the black box
  • Jean Boulet, X1940, S1944, former test pilot for aircraft and helicopters, known for having beaten many records
  • Serge Dassault, X1946, S1951, ingénieur de l'armement, former President of groupe Dassault, senator, Mayor of Corbeil-Essonnes from 1995 to 2009, son of Marcel Dassault, himself S1913 (see supra)
  • Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, X1965, S1970, figher pilot, ingénieur général de l’armement, General Director of Civil Aviation from 1990 to 1993, Executive Director of groupe Air France-KLM from 2009 to 2011
  • Bernard Ramanantsoa, S1971, President of HEC (the most renowned business school in France) till 2015
  • Laurent Collet-Billon, S1974, General Delegate of Armaments
  • Jean-Paul Herteman, X1970, S1975, Armaments Engineer, President of the Board, groupe Safran
  • Pierre Fabre, S1975, President of Snecma
  • Charles Champion, S1978, former Director of the Airbus A 380 program, Head of Operations at Airbus, appointed Head of Engineering Airbus and member of Airbus Executive Committee in 2010
  • Jean-François Clervoy, X1978, S1983, astronaut (three missions on the American space shuttle)
  • MarwanLahoud, X1984, S1989, Delegate General Director for strategy and marketing of groupe Airbus and President of GIFAS
  • Thomas Pesquet, S2001, engineer at CNES, fighter pilot and astronaut (on board the International Space Station from November 19, 2016)
  • Vincent Lecrubier, S2011, competition kayaker (7e en K2 500m (finalist) at the 2008 Olympic Games in Pekin)
  • Pascal Vasselon, 2000-2004 Michelin Competition, Director F1, since 2010 Toyota MotorsportGmbH, Technical Director

References and footnotes[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°33′56″N 1°28′27″E / 43.56556°N 1.47417°E / 43.56556; 1.47417