Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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Coordinates: 40°25′52″N 86°54′52″W / 40.431057°N 86.914451°W / 40.431057; -86.914451

Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering StadiumAveEntrance.png
Established 1945
Head Tom I-P. Shih
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 712 (Fall 2017)
Postgraduates 504 (Fall 2017)
Address 701 W. Stadium Ave.
West Lafayette, IN 47907
, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Affiliations Purdue University
Website [1]

The Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics is Purdue University's school of aerospace engineering contained within the Purdue University College of Engineering. The school offers BS, M.S., and PhD degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering. Its main office and some of its labs are located in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.


A P-6E restored by Purdue students

The school was officially established as a separate degree program on July 1, 1945, but elective courses in the field of aeronautical engineering were offered through the School of Mechanical Engineering as early as 1921. The aeronautical engineering option in Mechanical Engineering was offered as a full degree program in 1941, and in 1942, Mechanical Engineering became the "School of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering." The school's present name was adopted in 1973.[1]

Purdue students have built and restored several aircraft as part of the program. The sole Curtiss P-6 Hawk was restored by students and resides at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. In 1971 students restored a Ryan PT-22 Recruit, and completed a homebuilt Schreder HP-14 glider.[2]

Distinguished Alumni[edit]

Purdue aerospace has had a long tradition of excellence. Many of its graduates have gone on to become astronauts or other prominent members of the aerospace and defense industry. Purdue University has graduated 23 astronauts, more than any other public institution, and 13 of those hold degrees from the aerospace department. The only non-military institution to graduate more astronauts is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One-third of all of NASA's manned space flights have had at least one Purdue graduate aboard, and two of the six American astronauts to fly on the Russian space station Mir held Purdue degrees.[1]

Astronauts with Purdue aerospace degrees[3][edit]


  • Loral O'Hara, M.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, 2009 is a NASA astronaut candidate of the class of 2017.

Notable aerospace engineers and inventors[edit]

Notable business executives[edit]

Other notable alumni[edit]

Student Organizations[edit]

The School of Aeronautics & Astronautics is also home to 9 student organizations that engage its members in a wide array of social, outreach, engineering and service activities. They are:

AAE Graduate Women's Gathering[edit]

The student organization formed in 2011 brings together graduate women in a comfortable setting for mentoring experiences to meet and share information and strategies for achievement of personal, academic, and professional success. [8]

Aero Assist[edit]

Aero Assist is a student organization at Purdue University that caters to graduate students within the school of Aeronautics & Astronautics. A committee of 10 graduate students organizes several activities that are beneficial to graduate students such as the Research Symposium Series, the Graduate Mentor Program and recreational/leisure activities for the students.[9]

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Student Advisory Council[edit]

AAESAC serves to facilitate interactions and the relationship between faculty and the student body, to advise the administration on issues and concerns of students pertaining to the department, and generally strives to improve the school in hopes of enhancing the educational experience.[10]

American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics[edit]

AIAA is the leading professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The Purdue chapter works to support the institute's main objectives which is to advance the arts, sciences, and technologies pertaining to the aerospace field.[11]

Amateur Student and Teacher Rocketry Organization[edit]

A.S.T.R.O is not only focused on research of solid fuel rocketry, but interacting with the community as well.[12]

Purdue Space Day[edit]

Organized by university students, Purdue Space Day (PSD) is an annual educational outreach program, which provides school students in grades 3-8 the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by participating in three age-appropriate activity sessions throughout the day.[13]

Sigma Gamma Tau[edit]

SGT is the American honor society for engineering students. It was founded at Purdue University on February 28, 1953. It seeks to identify and recognize achievement and excellence in the Aerospace field.[14]

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space[edit]

SEDS is a prominent student-run international grass-roots movement dedicated to space advocacy. Through 3 missions,[15] its chapter at Purdue University allows its members to broaden their technical skills in space-related projects, educate K-12 through outreach programs, and network among other space enthusiasts at conferences such as Space Vision, NewSpace, and ISDC. Every spring, Purdue SEDS hosts its flagship event known as the Spring Space Forum. The goal of the forum is to invite prominent members of industry, academia, and other space-related fields to discuss a current relevant issue. Previous speakers include Michael D. Griffin, former NASA administrator and John Gedmark, co-founder of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and Purdue alumnus.[16]

Women in Aerospace[edit]

The purpose of Women in Aerospace is to provide undergraduate women in the aerospace engineering program educational, social, and professional opportunities. WIA seeks to raise awareness of the gender disparity in aerospace engineering and encourage to learn more about how to create inclusive environments.[17]


  1. ^ a b http://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/AboutUs/History History of the Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  2. ^ Air Progress: 14. December 1971. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ http://www.purdue.edu/space/astronauts.html Purdue grads in space
  4. ^ https://www.csmonitor.com/1986/0213/ahype-f.html
  5. ^ http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2010/100216JamiesonDEA.html Purdue University News – "College of Engineering to honor 9 alumni"
  6. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-73827224.html Speech by David Swain
  7. ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferjohnson/2018/05/31/how-this-startup-used-a-robotic-arm-to-3-d-print-a-bike/#407b9aee3412
  8. ^ https://boilerlink.purdue.edu/organization/aawgwg
  9. ^ https://engineering.purdue.edu/AeroAssist/ Aero Assist
  10. ^ https://engineering.purdue.edu/aaesac/ Purdue AAESAC
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved July 19, 2012. Purdue AIAA chapter
  12. ^ http://www.getinvolved.purdue.edu/organization/astro/about
  13. ^ https://engineering.purdue.edu/PurdueSpaceDay/about_psd/aboutspaceday.html Purdue Space Day
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012. Purdue SGT
  15. ^ https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/Academics/StudentOrgs/seds/about.html Purdue SEDS
  16. ^ https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/Academics/StudentOrgs/seds/ssf.html Spring Space Forum
  17. ^ https://boilerlink.purdue.edu/organization/WomenInAerospace

External links[edit]