What is Aerospace Engineering?

Updated: Feb 5

Written By: Saniya Kalamkar

Special thanks to Eszter Anna Varga for her help!

Aerospace engineering is the field of engineering that is concerned with aircraft and spacecraft. This means that aerospace engineers deal with almost everything in aircraft and spacecraft, like the design, development, testing, and production of them. Examples of what aerospace engineers work on include the design of satellites, missiles, aircraft, spacecraft, and even national defense systems. Aerospace engineers also work on a wide range of aircraft, such as commercialized vehicles like helicopters to military planes. Aerospace engineers have a good working knowledge of thermodynamics, aerodynamics, propulsion, acoustics, and flight mechanics.

Aerospace engineering is a broad field and includes aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aeronautical engineering is focused on the theory, technology, and practice of flight within the earth’s atmosphere. Astronautical engineering, on the other hand, is focused on the science and technology of spacecraft and launch vehicles. The main difference between these two branches of aerospace engineering is that astronautical engineering is more concerned with aircraft that function outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and aeronautical engineering is concerned only with aircraft that function inside Earth’s atmosphere.

Because aerospace engineering is such a broad field with so many possibilities, many aerospace engineering majors tend to specialize in a specific area. Aerospace engineering majors are very flexible, so they can work in many roles from test engineering to system engineering to safety and CDF analysis, there are lots of possibilities.

Aerospace engineers can also work in a wide array of workplaces. Aerospace engineers can work in corporate labs, government labs, universities, airline operators, research organizations, and aerospace companies among other things.

Aerospace engineering is an exciting new field with plenty of future growth. It is definitely a field of engineering that should not be overlooked. If you are interested in a future in aerospace engineering, consider applying to Stanford, the University of Michigan, MIT, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Purdue University as they all have noteworthy aerospace engineering programs.

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