Aerospace engineering
Overview
 
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft
Aircraft
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...

 and spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical
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...

 engineering and astronautical
Astronautics
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....

 engineering. The former deals with craft that stay within Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's atmosphere
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...

, and the latter with craft that operate outside it.

Aerospace Engineering deals with the design, construction, and application of the science behind the forces and physical properties of aircraft, rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s, flying craft, and spacecraft.
Encyclopedia
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft
Aircraft
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...

 and spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical
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...

 engineering and astronautical
Astronautics
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....

 engineering. The former deals with craft that stay within Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's atmosphere
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...

, and the latter with craft that operate outside it.

Aerospace Engineering deals with the design, construction, and application of the science behind the forces and physical properties of aircraft, rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s, flying craft, and spacecraft. The field also covers their aerodynamic characteristics and behaviors, airfoil
Airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in cross-section....

, control surfaces, lift
Lift
Lift may mean:* Lift , a mechanical force generated by an object moving through a fluid* Lift , rising air used by soaring birds and glider, hang glider and paraglider pilots for soaring flight...

, drag
Drag
- In science and technology :* Drag , the force which resists motion of an object through a fluid* Drag equation, a mathematical equation used in analyzing the magnitude of drag caused by fluid flow...

, and other properties. Aerospace engineering is not to be confused with the various other fields of engineering that go into designing these complex craft. For example, the design of aircraft avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

, while certainly part of the system as a whole, would rather be considered electrical engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, or perhaps computer engineering
Computer engineering
Computer engineering, also called computer systems engineering, is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer systems. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering, software design, and...

. The landing gear
Landing Gear
Landing Gear is Devin the Dude's fifth studio album. It was released on October 7, 2008. It was his first studio album since signing with the label Razor & Tie. It features a high-profile guest appearance from Snoop Dogg. As of October 30, 2008, the album has sold 18,906 copies.-Track...

 system on an aircraft may fall into the field of mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, and so forth. It is typically a large combination of many disciplines that makes up aeronautical engineering.

While aeronautical engineering was the original term, the broader "aerospace
Aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

" has superseded it in usage, as flight technology advanced to include craft operating in outer space
Outer 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....

. Aerospace engineering, particularly the astronautics branch, is referred to colloquially as "rocket science
Rocket science
Rocket science is a colloquial term for aerospace engineering and related fields.Rocket science may also refer to:* Rocket Science Games, a video game development company* Rocket Science VFX, a Canadian visual effects production company...

".

Overview

Flight vehicles undergo severe conditions such as extreme changes in atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure is the force per unit area exerted into a surface by the weight of air above that surface in the atmosphere of Earth . In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point...

 and temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

, with structural load
Structural load
Structural loads or actions are forces, deformations or accelerations applied to a structure or its components.Loads cause stresses, deformations and displacements in structures. Assessment of their effects is carried out by the methods of structural analysis...

s applied upon vehicle components. Consequently, they are usually the products of various technological and engineering disciplines including aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

, propulsion
Air propulsion
Air propulsion is the generation of thrust during flight by an aircraft or a creature such as a bird, bat or insect.-Aircraft:An aircraft propulsion system must serve two purposes. First, the thrust from the propulsion system must balance the drag of the airplane when the airplane is cruising...

, avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

, materials science
Materials science
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

, structural analysis
Structural analysis
Structural analysis is the determination of the effects of loads on physical structures and their components. Structures subject to this type of analysis include all that must withstand loads, such as buildings, bridges, vehicles, machinery, furniture, attire, soil strata, prostheses and...

 and manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

. These technologies are collectively known as aerospace engineering. Because of the complexity of the field, aerospace engineering is conducted by a team of engineers, each specializing in their own branches of science.

The development and manufacturing of a modern flight vehicle is an extremely complex process and demands careful balance and compromise between abilities, design, available technology and costs. Aerospace engineers design, test, and supervise the manufacture of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space.

History

The origin of aerospace engineering can be traced back to the aviation pioneers around the late 19th century to early 20th centuries, although the work of Sir George Cayley
George Cayley
Sir George Cayley, 6th Baronet was a prolific English engineer and one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics. Many consider him the first true scientific aerial investigator and the first person to understand the underlying principles and forces of flight...

 has recently been dated as being from the last decade of the 18th to mid 19th century. One of the most important people in the history of aeronautics
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...

, Cayley was a pioneer in aeronautical engineering and is credited as the first person to separate the forces of lift
Lift (force)
A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction. It contrasts with the drag force, which is the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction...

 and drag
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

, which are in effect on any flight vehicle. Early knowledge of aeronautical engineering was largely empirical with some concepts and skills imported from other branches of engineering. Scientists understood some key elements of aerospace engineering , like fluid dynamics
Fluid dynamics
In physics, fluid dynamics is a sub-discipline of fluid mechanics that deals with fluid flow—the natural science of fluids in motion. It has several subdisciplines itself, including aerodynamics and hydrodynamics...

, in the 18th century. Several years later after the successful flights by the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

, the 1910s saw the development of aeronautical engineering through the design of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 military aircraft.

The first definition of aerospace engineering appeared in February 1958. The definition considered the Earth's atmosphere and the outer space as a single realm, thereby encompassing both aircraft (aero) and spacecraft (space) under a newly coined word aerospace
Aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 was founded in 1958 as a response to the Cold War. United States aerospace engineers launched the first American satellite on January 31, 1958 in response to the USSR launching Sputnik on October 4, 1957.

Elements

Some of the elements of aerospace engineering are:

  • Fluid mechanics
    Fluid mechanics
    Fluid mechanics is the study of fluids and the forces on them. Fluid mechanics can be divided into fluid statics, the study of fluids at rest; fluid kinematics, the study of fluids in motion; and fluid dynamics, the study of the effect of forces on fluid motion...

     – the study of fluid
    Fluid
    In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

     flow around objects. Specifically aerodynamics
    Aerodynamics
    Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

     concerning the flow of air over bodies such as wing
    Wing
    A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...

    s or through objects such as wind tunnel
    Wind tunnel
    A wind tunnel is a research tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects.-Theory of operation:Wind tunnels were first proposed as a means of studying vehicles in free flight...

    s (see also lift
    Lift (force)
    A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction. It contrasts with the drag force, which is the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction...

     and aeronautics
    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...

    ).
  • Astrodynamics
    Astrodynamics
    Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other spacecraft. The motion of these objects is usually calculated from Newton's laws of motion and Newton's law of universal gravitation. It...

     – the study of orbital mechanics including prediction of orbital elements when given a select few variables. While few schools in the United States teach this at the undergraduate level, several have graduate programs covering this topic (usually in conjunction with the Physics department of said college or university).
  • Statics
    Statics
    Statics is the branch of mechanics concerned with the analysis of loads on physical systems in static equilibrium, that is, in a state where the relative positions of subsystems do not vary over time, or where components and structures are at a constant velocity...

     and Dynamics (engineering mechanics) – the study of movement, forces, moments in mechanical systems.
  • Mathematics
    Mathematics
    Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

     – in particular, calculus
    Calculus
    Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

    , differential equations, and linear algebra
    Linear algebra
    Linear algebra is a branch of mathematics that studies vector spaces, also called linear spaces, along with linear functions that input one vector and output another. Such functions are called linear maps and can be represented by matrices if a basis is given. Thus matrix theory is often...

    .
  • Electrotechnology – the study of electronics within engineering.
  • Propulsion – the energy to move a vehicle through the air (or in outer space) is provided by internal combustion engine
    Internal combustion engine
    The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

    s, jet engine
    Jet engine
    A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

    s and turbomachinery
    Turbomachinery
    Turbomachinery, in mechanical engineering, describes machines that transfer energy between a rotor and a fluid, including both turbines and compressors. While a turbine transfers energy from a fluid to a rotor, a compressor transfers energy from a rotor to a fluid...

    , or rocket
    Rocket
    A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

    s (see also propeller
    Propeller (aircraft)
    Aircraft propellers or airscrews convert rotary motion from piston engines or turboprops to provide propulsive force. They may be fixed or variable pitch. Early aircraft propellers were carved by hand from solid or laminated wood with later propellers being constructed from metal...

     and spacecraft propulsion
    Spacecraft propulsion
    Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites. There are many different methods. Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research. However, most spacecraft today are propelled by forcing a gas from the...

    ). A more recent addition to this module is electric propulsion
    Electric propulsion
    An electrically powered spacecraft propulsion system is any of a number of forms of electric motors which spacecraft can employ to gain mechanical energy in outer space...

     and ion propulsion.
  • Control engineering
    Control engineering
    Control engineering or Control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with predictable behaviors...

     – the study of mathematical modeling of the dynamic
    Flight dynamics
    Flight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

     behavior of systems and designing them, usually using feedback signals, so that their dynamic behavior is desirable (stable, without large excursions, with minimum error). This applies to the dynamic behavior of aircraft, spacecraft, propulsion systems, and subsystems that exist on aerospace vehicles.
  • Aircraft structures – design of the physical configuration of the craft to withstand the forces encountered during flight. Aerospace engineering aims to keep structures lightweight.
  • Materials science
    Materials science
    Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

     – related to structures, aerospace engineering also studies the materials of which the aerospace structures are to be built. New materials with very specific properties are invented, or existing ones are modified to improve their performance.
  • Solid mechanics
    Solid mechanics
    Solid mechanics is the branch of mechanics, physics, and mathematics that concerns the behavior of solid matter under external actions . It is part of a broader study known as continuum mechanics. One of the most common practical applications of solid mechanics is the Euler-Bernoulli beam equation...

     – Closely related to material science is solid mechanics which deals with stress and strain analysis of the components of the vehicle. Nowadays there are several Finite Element programs such as MSC Patran/Nastran which aid engineers in the analytical process.
  • Aeroelasticity
    Aeroelasticity
    Aeroelasticity is the science which studies the interactions among inertial, elastic, and aerodynamic forces. It was defined by Arthur Collar in 1947 as "the study of the mutual interaction that takes place within the triangle of the inertial, elastic, and aerodynamic forces acting on structural...

     – the interaction of aerodynamic forces and structural flexibility, potentially causing flutter, divergence, etc.
  • Avionics
    Avionics
    Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

     – the design and programming of computer systems on board an aircraft or spacecraft and the simulation of systems.
  • Software – the specification, design, development, test, and implementation of computer software for aerospace applications, including flight software, ground control software, test & evaluation software, etc.
  • Risk and reliability
    Reliability engineering
    Reliability engineering is an engineering field, that deals with the study, evaluation, and life-cycle management of reliability: the ability of a system or component to perform its required functions under stated conditions for a specified period of time. It is often measured as a probability of...

     – the study of risk and reliability assessment techniques and the mathematics involved in the quantitative methods.
  • Noise control
    Noise control
    Noise control is an active or passive means of reducing sound emissions, often incentivised by personal comfort, environmental considerations or legal compliance. Practical and efficient noise control is wholly reliant on an accurate diagnosis of what is causing the noise, which first involves...

     – the study of the mechanics of sound transfer.
  • Flight test
    Flight test
    Flight test is a branch of aeronautical engineering that develops and gathers data during flight of an aircraft and then analyzes the data to evaluate the flight characteristics of the aircraft and validate its design, including safety aspects...

     – designing and executing flight test programs in order to gather and analyze performance and handling qualities
    Handling qualities
    Handling qualities is one of the two principal regimes in the science of flight test . Handling qualities involves the study and evaluation of the stability and control characteristics of an aircraft...

     data in order to determine if an aircraft meets its design and performance goals and certification requirements.


The basis of most of these elements lies in theoretical mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, such as fluid dynamics
Fluid dynamics
In physics, fluid dynamics is a sub-discipline of fluid mechanics that deals with fluid flow—the natural science of fluids in motion. It has several subdisciplines itself, including aerodynamics and hydrodynamics...

 for aerodynamics or the equations of motion for flight dynamics
Flight dynamics
Flight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

. There is also a large empirical
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 component. Historically, this empirical component was derived from testing of scale models and prototypes, either in wind tunnels or in the free atmosphere. More recently, advances in computing
Computing
Computing is usually defined as the activity of using and improving computer hardware and software. It is the computer-specific part of information technology...

 have enabled the use of computational fluid dynamics
Computational fluid dynamics
Computational fluid dynamics, usually abbreviated as CFD, is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows. Computers are used to perform the calculations required to simulate the interaction of liquids and gases with...

 to simulate the behavior of fluid, reducing time and expense spent on wind-tunnel testing.

Additionally, aerospace engineering addresses the integration of all components that constitute an aerospace vehicle (subsystems including power, aerospace bearing
Aerospace bearing
Aerospace bearings is a term used to describe bearings installed in aircraft and aerospace systems including commercial, private, military or space applications....

s, communications, thermal control
Temperature control
Temperature control is a process in which change of temperature of a space is measured or otherwise detected, and the passage of heat energy into or out of the space is adjusted to achieve a desired average temperature....

, life support
Life support
Life support, in medicine is a broad term that applies to any therapy used to sustain a patient's life while they are critically ill or injured. There are many therapies and techniques that may be used by clinicians to achieve the goal of sustaining life...

, etc.) and its life cycle (design, temperature, pressure, radiation
Radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

, velocity
Velocity
In physics, velocity is speed in a given direction. Speed describes only how fast an object is moving, whereas velocity gives both the speed and direction of the object's motion. To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed and motion in a constant direction. Constant ...

, lifetime
Fatigue (material)
'In materials science, fatigue is the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a material is subjected to cyclic loading. The nominal maximum stress values are less than the ultimate tensile stress limit, and may be below the yield stress limit of the material.Fatigue occurs...

).

Aerospace engineering degrees

Aerospace engineering may be studied at the advanced diploma
Diploma
A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word diploma refers to...

, bachelor's
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

, master's
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

, and Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 levels in aerospace engineering departments at many universities, and in mechanical engineering departments at others. A few departments offer degrees in space-focused astronautical engineering. The Delft University of Technology
Delft University of Technology
Delft University of Technology , also known as TU Delft, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technical university, located in Delft, Netherlands...

 (TU Delft) in the Netherlands offers one of the top European aerospace educational and research platforms, while the programs of the Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology is an institution of higher learning located in Rolla, Missouri, United States, and part of the University of Missouri System...

, Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

, and University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 are examples of American schools. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

 ranked the undergraduate aerospace engineering programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States...

, and the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 as the top three best programs at doctorate granting universities in the United States. The other programs in the top ten were Purdue University
Purdue University
Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., is the flagship university of the six-campus Purdue University system. Purdue was founded on May 6, 1869, as a land-grant university when the Indiana General Assembly, taking advantage of the Morrill Act, accepted a donation of land and...

, California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

, University of Maryland
University of Maryland
When the term "University of Maryland" is used without any qualification, it generally refers to the University of Maryland, College Park.University of Maryland may refer to the following:...

, University of Illinois, Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

, and Virginia Tech in that order. The magazine also rates Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a private university in the US specializing in aviation and aerospace engineering. It teaches the science, practice, and business of aviation and aerospace. Called "The Harvard of the Sky" by Time Magazine in 1979, Embry-Riddle has a history dating back to...

, the United States Air Force Academy
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States...

, and the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 as the premier aerospace engineering programs at universities that do not grant doctorate degrees. University of Kansas School of Engineering
University of Kansas School of Engineering
The University of Kansas School of Engineering, founded in 1891 is the is the oldest Engineering School in the State of Kansas, although engineering degrees were awarded as early as 1873. It is an ABET accredited, public engineering school located on the main campus of the University of Kansas in...

 has earned more first and second place AIAA awards than any other academic institution in the world in the 42-year history of the competition. Wichita State University
Wichita State University
Wichita State University is a NCAA Division I public university in Wichita, Kansas with selective admissions. WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The current president is Dr. Donald Beggs....

 is renowned for its Aerospace Engineering program and also has the third highest research budget for Aerospace Engineering in the United States.

In Canada, the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 has a quality aerospace engineering program. The aerospace program requires the students to go through a competitive program called Engineering Science. The academic program in aerospace science and engineering at U of T includes undergraduate and graduate studies. At the graduate level U of T offers research-intensive programs leading to MASc and PhD degrees, and a professionally-oriented program leading to the MEng degree. The scope of U of T's research includes aeronautical engineering (aircraft flight systems, propulsion, aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, and structural mechanics) and space systems engineering (spacecraft dynamics and control, space robotics and mechatronics, and microsatellite technology). Carleton University and Ryerson University are other top aerospace and mechanical engineering universities in Canada which offer accredited graduate and under-graduate degrees. The Royal Military College of Canada offers an Aerospace engineering degree offered by the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department since 2008. It is a rigorous program with a high amount of additional credits students must earn.

In the UK, Aerospace (or aeronautical) engineering can be studied for the B.Eng., M.Eng., MSc. and Ph.D.
Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 levels at a number of universities. The top 10 universities are University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, University of Surrey
University of Surrey
The University of Surrey is a university located within the county town of Guildford, Surrey in the South East of England. It received its charter on 9 September 1966, and was previously situated near Battersea Park in south-west London. The institution was known as Battersea College of Technology...

, University of Bristol
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

, University of Southampton
University of Southampton
The University of Southampton is a British public university located in the city of Southampton, England, a member of the Russell Group. The origins of the university can be dated back to the founding of the Hartley Institution in 1862 by Henry Robertson Hartley. In 1902, the Institution developed...

, Queens University Belfast, University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

, Newcastle University, University of Bath
University of Bath
The University of Bath is a campus university located in Bath, United Kingdom. It received its Royal Charter in 1966....

, Imperial College London
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine...

, Loughborough University
Loughborough University
Loughborough University is a research based campus university located in the market town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, in the East Midlands of England...

 and University of Nottingham
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham is a public research university based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, with further campuses in Ningbo, China and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

 for 2010. The Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London is noted for providing engineers for the Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 industry, an industry that uses aerospace technology.

Aerospace can be studied at University of Limerick
University of Limerick
The University of Limerick is a university in Ireland near the city of Limerick on the island's west coast. It was established in 1972 as the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick and became a university by statute in 1989 in accordance with the University of Limerick Act 1989...

 in Ireland. In Australia, the RMIT University
RMIT University
RMIT University is an Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. It has two branches, referred to as RMIT University in Australia and RMIT International University in Vietnam....

 offers Aerospace (or aeronautical) engineering and has more than 60 years teaching experience in this profession. Monash University
Monash University
Monash University is a public university based in Melbourne, Victoria. It was founded in 1958 and is the second oldest university in the state. Monash is a member of Australia's Group of Eight and the ASAIHL....

, University of New South Wales
University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales , is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

, University of Sydney
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

, University of Queensland
University of Queensland
The University of Queensland, also known as UQ, is a public university located in state of Queensland, Australia. Founded in 1909, it is the oldest and largest university in Queensland and the fifth oldest in the nation...

, University of Adelaide
University of Adelaide
The University of Adelaide is a public university located in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third oldest university in Australia...

 and Queensland University of Technology
Queensland University of Technology
Queensland University of Technology is an Australian university with an applied emphasis in courses and research. Based in Brisbane, it has 40,000 students, including 6,000 international students, over 4,000 staff members, and an annual budget of more than A$750 million.QUT is marketed as "A...

 also offers Aerospace Engineering.

European universities that are renowned for their teaching and expertise in aerospace engineering include TU Delft in the Netherlands, ISAE, ENAC
École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile
The ' is a French and a national French civil aeronautics academy .It was founded in 1949 in Paris Orly and moved to Toulouse in 1968....

, IPSA
Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées
IPSA, Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées, is a French private grande école in aeronautical and space engineering located at Ivry-sur-Seine and Toulouse, certified by the State since 2010 and by Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur since 2011....

 and ESTACA in France, RWTH Aachen
RWTH Aachen
RWTH Aachen University is a research university located in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany with roughly 33,000 students enrolled in 101 study programs....

, TU München, the University of Stuttgart
University of Stuttgart
The University of Stuttgart is a university located in Stuttgart, Germany. It was founded in 1829 and is organized in 10 faculties....

, TU Berlin and TU Braunschweig in Germany, and the Centre for Structure Technologies at ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich or ETH Zürich is an engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management university in the City of Zurich, Switzerland....

 in Switzerland. In Austria the FH Joanneum
FH Joanneum
FH Joanneum is one of the largest Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria. It has about 3,500 students and about 530 employees . The main campus is located in Graz, while there are two other locations in Kapfenberg and Bad Gleichenberg...

. In Portugal the Instituto Superior Técnico
Instituto Superior Técnico
Instituto Superior Técnico is a reputed school of engineering, part of Universidade Técnica de Lisboa . IST is the largest and the most prestigious school of engineering in Portugal...

. In Spain the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid is a private university in Madrid, Spain. Its 27 campuses are located in the municipalities of Leganés, Colmenarejo and Getafe. It is a mediocre institution well-known for the quality of its teaching and academic research, its international orientation and its...

, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Universitat Politècnica de Valencia  and University of Seville
University of Seville
The Universidad de Sevilla or University of Seville, in English, is a top-ranked European university in Seville, Spain. Founded under the name of Colegio Santa María de Jesús in 1505, the University of Seville, with a student body of over 50,000, is one of the top-ranked universities in the country...

 offer the degree, while in Italy there also several universities where aerospace engineering can be studied including the Politecnico di Torino, the Politecnico di Milano, the University of Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

,the University of Pisa
University of Pisa
The University of Pisa , located in Pisa, Tuscany, is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century...

, the University of Napoli, the University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

 and the Sapienza University of Rome. In Eastern Europe they are the Politehnica University of Bucharest in Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, the University of Belgrade
University of Belgrade
The University of Belgrade is the oldest and largest university of Serbia.Founded in 1808 as the Belgrade Higher School in revolutionary Serbia, by 1838 it merged with the Kragujevac-based departments into a single university...

 in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, the Warsaw University of Technology
Warsaw University of Technology
The Warsaw University of Technology is one of the leading institutes of technology in Poland, and one of the largest in Central Europe. It employs 2,453 teaching faculty, with 357 professors . The student body numbers 36,156 , mostly full-time. There are 17 faculties covering almost all fields of...

 and Rzeszów University of Technology in Poland and Brno University of Technology
Brno University of Technology
Brno University of Technology is a university located in Brno, Czech Republic...

 in Brno
Brno
Brno by population and area is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative centre of the South Moravian Region where it forms a separate district Brno-City District...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

.

In India IIT Kanpur possesses its own flight test aircraft and airfield for students in the discipline, while the other IITs also offer degrees in this discipline. IIST Trivandrum,sponsored by ISRO offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses focusing on aeronautics, astronautics and space sciences. Amrita University  Coimbatore is another premier institute in private sector that offers Bachelor Degree course in Aerospace Engineering. From academic year 2010 onwards Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur has started offering an undergraduate course Bachelor of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering
The Bachelor of Engineering is an undergraduate academic degree awarded to a student after three to five years of studying engineering at universities in Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland , Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Korea,...

 in Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

.University of Petroleum and Energy Studies,Dehradun also one of the leading institute. While in China Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University
Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University
Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics is a university located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China.In Chinese, the university name is sometimes shortened to Nanhang, or 南航, meaning Nanjing Astronautics.-Campus:...

 is a regional leader in the field of aerospace engineering education. In Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 Aerospace Engineering can be studied at National University of Sciences and Technology at (CAE
College of Aeronautical Engineering
The College of Aeronautical Engineering is located at the Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, and is affiliated with the National University of Sciences and Technology ....

), at PAF Academy
Pakistan Air Force Academy
"RAF Risalpur", "Risalpur Airbase/Airfield" & "Pakistan Air Force/PAF Base Risalpur" redirects here.The Pakistan Air Force Academy also known as PAFA, is an accredited co-educational four-year college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the Pakistan Air Force...

 in Risalpur
Risalpur
Risalpur is a city in Nowshera District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, on the Nowshera-Mardan Road. It is nearly 45 km from Peshawar and 15 km from Mardan and is located at 34°4'52N 71°58'21E. In a basin some 1014 feet above sea level, it is bounded on the south and west by the Kabul and...

 & at Air University which is Pakistan's only university that grants a Doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 degree in Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

 & Avionics Engineering
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

. In 2002, SUPARCO established IST
Institute of Space Technology
The Institute of Space Technology , is located in Islamabad, Pakistan. It produces scientists and engineers in the field of space technology...

 which is a federally chartered public sector institute of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 offering under graduate and graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering. The MS degree at IST is being offered in collaboration with Beihang University (BUAA), China and Seoul National University
Seoul National University
Seoul National University , colloquially known in Korean as Seoul-dae , is a national research university in Seoul, Korea, ranked 24th in the world in publications in an analysis of data from the Science Citation Index, 7th in Asia and 42nd in the world by the 2011 QS World University Rankings...

, South Korea.

Another university that offers Aerospace Engineering degrees (B.Sc, M.Sc, M.Eng, Phd) is the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology is a research-intensive institute of technology in Haifa, Israel. Originally called the Technikum, it was founded in 1912...

, in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 the B.Sc, M.Sc and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering are offered by the some prestigious Universities like: Universidade de São Paulo - USP at São Carlos campus, Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica - ITA and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais is a federal university located in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The students are admitted through yearly exams called vestibular....

 - UFMG. The admission for these courses features among the most difficult in Brazil, partly due to its competitive Vestibular
Vestibular
The Vestibular is a competitive examination and is the primary and widespread system used by Brazilian universities to select their students. The Vestibular usually takes place from November to January, right before the start of school year in February or March, although certain universities hold...

 (similar to ACT and SAT in USA).

Popular culture

The term "rocket scientist" is sometimes used to describe a person of great intelligence
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

 since "rocket science" is seen as a practice requiring great mental ability, especially technical and mathematical ability. However, the term is a misnomer in that 'science' is the study of nature, whereas 'engineering' encompasses the application of science for the design and manufacturing of vehicles such as rockets and spacecraft.

The term is also used to describe a task or idea as being easy as compared to rocket science, which is perceived as a very difficult field. Usually used as a statement such as "It's not rocket science!"

See also

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...

  • Flight test
    Flight test
    Flight test is a branch of aeronautical engineering that develops and gathers data during flight of an aircraft and then analyzes the data to evaluate the flight characteristics of the aircraft and validate its design, including safety aspects...

  • List of aerospace engineering topics
  • List of aerospace engineers
  • List of Russian aerospace engineers
  • Nonequilibrium Gas and Plasma Dynamics Group
    Nonequilibrium Gas and Plasma dynamics group
    The Nonequilibrium Gas and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory at the Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of Michigan is headed by Professor Iain Boyd and performs research of nonequilibrium gases and plasmas involving the development of physical models for various gas systems of interest,...

  • Sigma Gamma Tau
    Sigma Gamma Tau
    Sigma Gamma Tau is the American honor society in Aerospace Engineering. It seeks to identify and recognize achievement and excellence in the Aerospace field...

    (aerospace engineering honor society)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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