- This article is about the field of research and industry; for the corporation, see The Aerospace CorporationThe Aerospace CorporationThe Aerospace Corporation is a private, non-profit corporation headquartered in El Segundo, California that has operated a Federally Funded Research and Development Center for the United States Air Force since 1960...
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...
of Earth and surrounding space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....
. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....
. Aerospace is a very diverse field, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications.
Aerospace is not the same as airspace
Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial waters or, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere....
, which is a term used to describe the physical air space directly above a location on the ground.
"Aerospace" can be understood as the combination of aeronautics
Aeronautics is the science involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of airflight-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft and rocketry within the atmosphere...
Astronautics, and related astronautical engineering, is the theory and practice of navigation beyond the Earth's atmosphere. In other words, it is the science and technology of space flight....
In most industrial countries, the aerospace industry is a cooperation of public and private industries.