Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering behind the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecrafts. It is divided into two major overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The first deals with crafts that stay within the Earth’s atmosphere, while the second deals with crafts that operate outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Aeronautical engineering was the original term before the broader term “aerospace” overtook it in usage, as flight technology advanced to include operating crafts in outer space. Aerospace engineering is largely about artefacts that fly – including airplanes, rockets, satellites or helicopters. It is also about how fluids flow, control systems, the strength of materials and improving strength. It also deals with how to design things so that they can be reliably built and maintained.
Aerospace engineers design, develop and test aircraft, spacecraft or missiles, and supervise their manufacture. Those who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers, and astronautical engineers are those working specifically with spacecrafts.
Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defence systems and space exploration, and sometimes specialize in areas like structures, vehicle movement and control, propulsion systems, communications, and overall vehicle design. They also may specialize in a particular type of aerospace product, such as commercial aircraft, helicopters, military fighter jets, missiles, spacecrafts and rockets. These engineers might also be experts in celestial mechanics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, acoustics, propulsion, or guidance and control systems.
Practicals and lab sessions are usually conducted throughout the course in subjects like aerospace CAD laboratory, aircraft design projects, aerospace structures lab, manufacturing and assembly drawing or computer skills.
Some colleges that offer programmes such as a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) or Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Aerospace or Aeronautical Engineering include:
Note: Programmes are subject to change, it is advisable to check directly with a school for current programme availability.