What is Aerospace engineering: Definition and 275 Discussions

Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft. It has two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Avionics engineering is similar, but deals with the electronics side of aerospace engineering.
"Aeronautical engineering" was the original term for the field. As flight technology advanced to include vehicles operating in outer space, the broader term "aerospace engineering" has come into use. Aerospace engineering, particularly the astronautics branch, is often colloquially referred to as "rocket science".

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  1. Brystar57

    Engineering Is it possible for me to go into Aerospace Engineering at 37?

    Good afternoon everyone My name is Bryant, I am a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, recent graduated of an M.S. in Aeronautics specializing in Space Operations since May of 2023 and but been having a difficult time of going for the Aerospace Industry. I have tried...
  2. P

    What do I study in school for Lorentz Force Propulsion R&D?

    Hello I'm new to the forum and I want to go to school for the specific purpose of developing the education I need to have the ability to research and develop a very interesting theoretical propulsion subject I've sort of stumbled over on the internet. I'm creating this post to ask the specific...
  3. .Scott

    FAA Proposal: Don't leave your booster in low Earth orbit

    For all of you with orbital rocket systems: https://www.flyingmag.com/faa-proposes-rule-to-limit-commercial-space-vehicles-debris/ The options are: 1) Controlled reentry; 2) Boosting to an uncongested graveyard orbit; 3) Deorbit by boosting it to escape velocity; 4) Retrieving it within 5...
  4. Sas

    Summer 2024 Internship in Aerospace Engineering in Europe

    Hey, I'm a second year mechanical engineering student in Cyprus and I'm about to enter my third at the end of September. I'm aiming to complete my Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering at ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse, France. They're a pretty prestigious institution and only accept the best...
  5. Benjies

    On the cusp of fully grasping Method of Characteristics

    'Lo all, I've been studying the Method of Characteristics for quite some time now. I understand all the interactions between characteristic lines, and how they modify the flow Mach number and direction of the flow when these characteristic lines intersect. I have just a couple of hangups that I...
  6. Someon332

    Good books/resources for getting into aerodynamics?

    TL;DR Summary: I want to know some good resourced on aerodynamics and the viability of a project I want to make. Hey everyone! First post here, so if I do something wrong please do tell me :) What are some good resources for getting into aerospace engineering and aerodynamics? I currently have...
  7. V

    Exploring Opportunities in Aerospace: A Guide for High School Students

    Hi! I'm Varsha and I'm going to be a junior in high school this coming fall. I'm quite interested in astronomy and engineering so I plan to study aerospace in college, but I'm not sure which topics to focus on and what I should do to stand out to colleges. I'd love to interact with others and...
  8. T

    Engineering Should I study Engineering Physics or Mechanical Engineering?

    I am unsure of what career to choose. I really like Physics and Math, and I have this desire to know more about things, which is what EP has to offer. I think that EP is mainly theoretical and does not teach many practice, but I believe that I can complement this by entering groups in my...
  9. T

    Engineering Data Science applied to Aerospace Engineering without AE background

    Apparently, DS can be applied to the Aero industry, but how is a question that I still can't find an answer, and which proves to be incredibly elusive online. I don't mean the Business Intelligence positions, I want to get more involved with the engineering team. Can a Data Scientist be useful...
  10. C

    Most Fundamental or Important Class for Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering

    Summary:: I am looking to take a engineering classes relevant to mechanical and or aerospace engineering. I am challenging my assumption that Statics & Dynamics is the most important and foundational/fundamental course to either mechanical or aerospace engineering (maybe fluid dynamics for...
  11. AJSayad

    Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering Undergrad Senior Design Project

    Hi everyone, This semester I'm enrolled in a senior design course where the students must fully design and fabricate a project from scratch that solves a problem. I've been struggling to think of ideas, so far I have some ideas on a windmill/turbine and a few electricity generation device ideas...
  12. AJSayad

    Finding Your Path to the Aerospace Engineering Industry

    Summary:: What is the best way to get into the Aerospace Engineering Industry? Hi everyone, I'm new to the physics forums. My name is Andrew, I'm going to be in my undergrad Senior year in mechanical engineering this coming fall. I've recently been looking into PhD programs and I've been...
  13. S

    MATLAB Calculating the time taken for an asteroid mission using MATLAB

    Using MATLAB, I am trying to calculate the time taken for a spacecraft to travel from Earth to a near Earth asteroid and then returning back to Earth but so far I have had no luck. Furthermore, I want to plot a Hohmann transfer and calculate the mass of fuel required for this mission. If...
  14. Vissarion

    Aerospace Engineering Subfields -- Which ones should I focus on?

    Summary:: Aerospace Engineering Subfield I am Sttudying Aerospacce Engineering and I must Follow a specific Subfield of Aerospace Engineering The main Course Structure of each Field is: Structures and Materials 1. Mechanical Behavior of Materials 2. Lightweight Aerostructures 3. Advanced...
  15. J

    Typical surface roughness heights for aircraft surfaces

    Hello! I am investigating some preliminary aerodynamics on a regional turboprop and for the drag model the surface roughness height of the airplane is required as an input. For this i do not have any data. In which range are the typical values for modern aircraft surfaces? Thanks a lot!
  16. rbh

    Schools Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering in Europe: Beyond the UK

    Hello, I'm currently in high school, I want to study aerospace engineering, what are best universities to do undergraduate studies in Europe outside of UK?
  17. R

    Is it possible to put multiple accelerator grids in an ion engine?

    Is it possible to put multiple accelerator grid in ion engine instead of one? So we will get higher exhaust velocity and benefit for us right? or is there any disadvantages?
  18. greg_rack

    Exploring the Beauty of Math Through Aerospace Engineering

    Hi guys, I'm 18 and about to start an aerospace engineering course. I'd like to have a few cool physics and mathematics-oriented readings before starting the course... both as preparation and as an encouragement. One thing I must tell you is that I totally prefer studying physics over pure...
  19. R

    Understanding High Thrust of Vacuum Rocket Engines

    Why do vacuum rocket engine always producing high thrust than sea level rocket engine ? for example spacex's merlin vacuum engine produce more thrust than merlin sea level engine. And it is due to the big nozzle with large area in vacuum engine because when the flow reaches mach 1 in the throat...
  20. J

    Does the title "Masters of Aerospace Engineering" exist?

    Do title master of aerospace engineering exist or you can only be master of aeronautical or astronautical engineering?
  21. S

    Rocket Science Enthusiast Seeks Guidance and Help from Aerospace Graduates

    Summary:: Looking for people who can guide me in what I want to pursue I am a 15 year old and I am an enthusiast. I have been fascinated by rocket science and I have been learning some advanced rocket science principles from the past year. I have a few Ideas for Launch Vehicles and would like...
  22. E

    Question about variations of the Sun's path over long periods of time

    Hello. I am a filmmaker writing a screenplay and I am in need of technical support to validate a method being used in the film. I am going to post this in the Earth Science forum but I'll copy it here, in case anyone reading this might know. Thank you all! "I am wondering if shadows cast...
  23. S

    Aeronautical Engineering or Nuclear Engineering?

    How did you find PF?: Via Google Hello, I am a new member here. Thano you for having me ! Im going through a dilemma. Next year I will have to choose a subject for higher studies. I want to work in space organisations in future and I like space researches. So basically Aeronautical Engineer...
  24. sully21

    Courses What is it like to work as an Astrophysicist or an Aerospace Engineer?

    Hi all. I'm currently an aerospace engineering undergraduate student in my second year, but I'm going through a very confusing process of second guessings and would greatly appreciate advice from older people who work in the Aerospace or in the Physics/Astronomy fields to help me compare the...
  25. chasemcd

    Schools Ryerson vs UofT Aerospace Engineering

    I see this question has been asked here before but that was 9 years ago and I’d like to get more up to do opinions. I’m trying to make my final decision and any input would be appreciated. I’ve been accepted into both UofT’s Engineering Science program and Ryerson’s Aerospace Engineering...
  26. L

    Aerospace Engineering: Predicting Airfoil Drag in 2D Potential Flow

    Hi, My other post got deleted because it was flagged for spam, but it was just a link to a pdf. So I'm uploading the pdf instead. I am working on a model to predict drag on airfoils in 2D potential flow (e.g. vortex panel methods). Currently, XFOIL uses a semi-empirical wake-momentum-thickness...
  27. AdrianHudson

    I What is the difference between thrust and thrust density?

    The picture above has thrust density as a column and I am not too sure what that is. Can anyone explain to me what the difference between thrust and thrust density? Thank you for your answers!
  28. U

    Aerospace and Physics double major? or Aerospace masters?

    If my goal job title were to be aerospace engineer, what would employer like more: Double major in aerospace engineering and physics, or a masters in aerospace engineering. The reason it is one or the other is I would only like to do only 4 years of school and I can complete a masters in four...
  29. kuolemaloki

    Engineering Astrophysics going on to Aerospace Engineering

    Hi all! I am currently doing my undergrad in Astronomy and Astrophysics and minoring in Computational Mathematics. I am starting to think about grad school and facing a dilemma: I would like to eventually receive a PhD in Astrophysics, but in the future I would possibly like to apply my...
  30. U

    Engineering Should I major in Computer Science, Physics, or Aerospace Engineering?

    << Mentor Note -- two threads on same subject merged. Please do not cross-post across forums here >> I am passionate about Physics, Computer Science, and Aerospace Engineering. I am about to start my freshman year of college in the fall and have yet to decide which would be the most reliable...
  31. Prof Sabi

    Programs What Shall I study -- astrophysics or aerospace engineering?

    I love astrophysics and cosmology, reading books of great men like Einstein, Stephen Hawking, NDGT and many more but I also have craze for rockets, their propulsion and aeronautical engineering like satellites and vehicles (SPACEX, NASA...) I am confused what Shall I do?
  32. A

    Aerodynamics: Recirculation Zone Wake and Speed

    How does speed effect the recirculation zone and wake for supersonic and hypersonic speeds? Does it get longer, wider? Also this is for a blunt body like apollo reentering
  33. D

    Flight Mechanics - Range and Payload calculations

    Homework Statement Assume that m(fuel, climb) = 1300kg is the mass of fuel required for the climb to the cruising altitude of 10,000m, independently of the take-off weight. Assume that the distance covered during the climb is always 100km. Consider the typical payload-range diagram shown and...
  34. Dan Card

    Programs Go for a Master's or Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering?

    Hey guys, right now I am attending University of Michigan pursuing Aerospace Engineering, my question is should I go straight to my master's or just get a bachelor's. My plan is that I could take some of my actual engineering courses next year, get an internship over the following summer then...
  35. C

    Aerospace engineering career advice

    Hello About me: I am a transfer junior Aerospace engineering major at U of Minnesota and will be getting a degree in physics from U of Wisconsin the same time I graduate from MN (don't ask how that works, it just does). I have had an REU nuclear physics internship (+ a year and half of nuclear...
  36. M

    Engineering Change of major as a junior: Physics or Aerospace Engineering?

    Hello, This is a little long but I promise it won't take that long to read and I want to tell my whole story. I have posted on here before in the past, but those posts are now conflicting and totally irrelevant. I've gone through a rough patch in my life where I couldn't decide what I want to...
  37. M

    Programs Should I do a double degree in Aerospace engineering and Astrophysics?

    Hi, I've applied to study the Bachelor of Science Advanced–Research(Honours) course at Monash University and I intended on majoring in Astrophysics, but after doing some research I'm feeling really uneasy about it since it doesn't seem like there are a lot of jobs available for people doing...
  38. X

    Engineering Aerospace Engineering job roles?

    Hi guys, I'm looking to study aerospace engineering at university but I'm concerned with how defence orientated the industry is - so I've heard. I read that even if I work in the civil sector, the tech I design for that can be used in defence tech, which I REALLY don't want. I know companies...
  39. F

    Schools Hoping to study Aerospace Engineering (RMIT vs Monash)

    Any Ideas about which is better? Attending Monash (Clayton) Open Day tomorrow, and RMIT(CBD) Next week. [Not sure if attending 10 to 4 Tour(Mechanical, Aerospace and Mechatronics) or Half Hr Info Section(Aerospace)] In terms of: Manufacture rather than become an Astronaut Degree-related work...
  40. T

    Greetings fellow electron modulators

    My life as an Electrical Engineer started in 1975, married with 1 child. I had many opportunities and participated in many world 1st's in Aerospace R&D including 1st, Telecom R&D, TE Mgr for HDD Magnetics Mfg Test Engineering, Operations Mgr/Eng for Wireless AMR, Eng Mgr for Contract Mfg and...
  41. R

    Engineering Masters in Physics enough for Aerospace Engineering?

    I currently have a MS in Physics and a MAT (masters in teaching - physics) and have worked the past two years as a high school physics teacher. However, I am feeling more inclined to move towards a career in engineering, particularly in the aerospace industry (rocket testing and design in...
  42. F

    Other Possible tracks during Masters Aerospace Engineering?

    I am having a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked in consumer products production industry for some 4 years. I decided to go for Aerospace Engineering masters, a complete change of track from my work experience, primarily due to my passion for aviation. I wanted to ask what...
  43. JayFlynn

    Why use Earth as a gravity assist?

    I am doing research for my aerospace engineering dissertation to plan a mission to a Jupiter trojan asteroid. I was researching the type of outgoing trajectories used in missions such as JUNO, Galileo and Europa and noticed they all use Earth as a gravity assist in getting to deep space. Surely...
  44. Arceus74

    Engineering Aerospace Engineering for an International student (Advice)

    Greetings, I'm a BE Mechanical Undergraduate and I'm in my third year right now! I have a great passion for Space but ultimately I choose mechanical due to the plethora of career choices and I had a great liking for UAV's(I have a Diploma in UAV design and a Diploma in Astrophysics) Now I have...
  45. Neven

    Which Engineering Field is Best for Space Exploration?

    HI , I'm a bit early for those kind of questions but my passion is the space ,my dream is to go in the space so i was wondering which type of engineer goes in space and if its the AeroEngineer , is the mechanicalE turn into aerospaceE ? P.S I am not english first language sorry if i spelled...
  46. M

    Programs Aerospace Engineering or Physics?

    I'm planning on studying for 5 years. In general I like physics, literally all aspects of it. However I'm not sure if I should go for AE instead. Is studying AE is very limiting as opposed to the other engineering branches? (in terms of job opportunities in the aero field) I want to study any...
  47. P

    Schools Technical drawing and aerospace engineering?

    I have to choose what to do at the university and I'm considering aerospace engineering, the problem is that I totally hate technical drawing, I can't help it, I don't want to do it, I am currently doing it here at high school and it's like hell, how much technical drawing is there in aerospace...
  48. Gjmdp

    Could I move into an MS in Aerospace engineering?

    If I have a BS on Physics, could I move and pursue into a MS in Aerospace engineering without having a BS on Aerospace E.? Would be easier if I had a BS in Astrophysics?
  49. T

    Engineering ME or AE to enter the field of AE

    I want to work in the field of AE, I live in India and am applying to institutions in the US for undergrad. A lot of people told me that as an international student or even as person it will be very hard to get a job in the field of aerospace if I major in AE. If instead, I major in ME with a...
  50. rfranceschetti

    Engineering Aerospace engineering non-conventional applications

    Hello guys, I'd like to know what non-conventional areas (i.e., not related to the airspace, aircrafts, satellites, etc) an aerospace engineer could work in. I've read somewhere that some aerospace engineers work with high-performance cars aerodynamics. Do you guys know something similar...