Aerospace Aeronautical and astronautical Engineering

  1. Im a senior in High school, preparing for college.

    I know that I want to major in engineering, preferably in something to do with space, but have a few questions.

    Could someone explain the difference between aeronautical and astronautical engineering? or Aerospace engineering for that matter?

  2. jcsd
  3. enigma

    enigma 1,809
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hi Viper,

    To some degree it depends on the schools you're looking at.

    At my school (go Terps), aerospace engineering is the name of the program (you send mail to the aerospace department).

    Within the aerospace department, there are two tracks:

    The air track is aeronautical engineering (deals with aircraft of all sorts... planes, helecopters, UAV's, etc.)
    The space track - my track - is astronautical engineering (deals with spacecraft, rocketry, robotics, etc.)

    In addition to that there are several subjects (mostly grad level, but you could get hired as an undergraduate) which straddle the two disciplines like 'smart structures' and 'control systems'.

    Hope that helps.

    Shoot me a PM if you're planning on visiting UMCP!
  4. I am a Junior in an Aerospace Engineering department, (KU). At my school most of the introductory classes are based on airplanes, Which is as enigma said aeronautical. once you get into the junior and seinor level then there are classes geared toward the Space craft and such, Which is astronautical. The reasoning given for this is that All space craft must first go through the atmosphere and having a good understanding of aircraft helps you think in terms of engineering before tackling space craft. I personaly think that is a bunch of bull, but that is what they tell us.

    I hope you do very well in your classes. I hope I have shed light on a differant type of curriculum than that of UMCP.
  5. most of the aerospace people I work with are actually mechanical or chemical engineers. All the areo guys are good for is calcualting lift and air flow over a wing, fluid problems.

    If you go aerospace, you need to plan to stay for a MS or you will have a very hard time finding a job. Otherwise go with mechanical, materials, or chemical engineering.
  6. Thanks for all of the input. I guess i have a bit to think about still. As for what red fox77 said, do you mean that they double majored? or minored in these things? Oh well, I still plan on heading for aerospace. Thanks everyone.
  7. enigma

    enigma 1,809
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think that really depends on the area you're looking.

    Most of my graduating class this past spring found jobs.
  8. Do Aero, but you will get to take a lot of elective classes in different areas. I would pick something in aero you want to do, like satellites or aircraft, and take some electives that will help you get a job. A lot of schools don't offer minors in engineering, but if yours does, it's worth the extra work if you don't plan to stay for a Masters.

    I didn't plan to stay when I started college. I really didn't decide to stay till my senior year when the job market was a little shallow and I wasn't getting offers I found very interesting. So don't plan too well, because it never quite happens that way. Best of luck!
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