Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the conception, design, development and production of vehicles for flight both in and beyond the atmosphere. Aerospace engineers apply their knowledge of aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, dynamics, control, and performance to a wide variety of problems encountered in the design of a major aerospace vehicle or system.
Typical examples of the types of vehicles designed by aerospace engineers include:
- the space shuttle
- spacecraft for exploring our solar system and universe
- new fuel-efficient commercial transports
- modern fighter aircraft, bombers, and missiles for the military services
- vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft
As an aerospace engineer, you may be involved in wind tunnel testing or computer rocket propulsion systems or, your work might involve estimating the performance of an entire vehicle or determining the strength or vibration characteristics of one or more of the vehicle's components. You could also be involved in designing or developing the guidance and control system for an airplane, missile, or spacecraft.
From the Wright Brothers flight in 1903 aerospace engineering has developed into a major engineering discipline which supports two of the world's major industries, aviation and space. It is an exciting and challenging profession.