If you want to work in aerospace engineering, you need an analytical mind and a strong grasp of math and science. Whether you’re interested in flying an airplane or creating the next generation of space propulsion technology, a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering can help you reach your goals.
Aerospace engineers use their knowledge of aircraft and spacecraft flight mechanics and controls, aerodynamics, materials, and structures to design new technologies. These skills are in high demand for the growing aerospace industry.
Aerodynamics is the study of how objects move through air, such as aircraft, rockets, kites, and cars. It involves four forces that affect the way an object moves: lift, weight, thrust, and drag.
In aerospace engineering, aerodynamics is used to improve aircraft design and make commercial flights safer. It also plays a role in NASA’s work to improve the performance of airplanes and other spacecraft.
Aerospace engineers use CFD simulation software to build numerical models of their proposed designs, simulate airflow and forces acting on designed structures, analyze the results, and propose changes. They also test their designs in laboratories or at industry sites.
Flight Mechanics and Orbital Mechanics
Aerospace engineers design and develop aircraft and spacecraft. They are also responsible for flight testing and troubleshooting of products.
Flight mechanics focuses on the forces that keep an aircraft or spacecraft in the air. These forces include thrust, drag, weight and lift.
Theoretical and experimental study of the behavior of fluids in compressible, duct, free shear, and shock waves. Thermodynamics and flow conservation; basic principles of top down systems engineering, preliminary and detailed design of aircraft and space vehicles.
Orbital mechanics applies physics to the orbital motion of spacecraft and natural astronomical bodies. The field is similar to celestial mechanics, but focuses on trajectories and coordinate transformations. It uses a more exact theory called general relativity to calculate the position of an object as it moves through space.
Controls are the systems used to optimize how automated processes work. They make use of control theory to adapt to different system inputs, ensuring consistent outcomes regardless of changing conditions.
Flight controls engineers are responsible for designing and building the systems that control aircraft that fly within the Earth’s atmosphere. This type of work helps ensure that these systems meet safety standards and perform well.
Flight controls engineering involves the design, manufacture, and maintenance of a variety of control systems that are incorporated into the various parts of an aircraft. These include sensors that measure outputs and provide feedback that triggers process adjustments to produce the desired outcome.
The materials that make up aerospace vehicles–whether airplanes, space shuttles, manmade satellites or drones–are chosen with specific performance requirements in mind. These include light weight, strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance and other qualities.
Aerospace engineers use a variety of materials, including metals, plastics and composites. In addition to these common types, new alloys and composites are constantly being developed by researchers.
One material in particular is promising–graphene. This type of carbon compound has unique properties that are important in aerospace applications. It can boost the electrical conductivity of carbon-fiber composites.
Aerospace engineers are responsible for the design, construction and test of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and propulsion systems. They work at aerospace companies, government agencies, and laboratories.
These professionals apply their knowledge of design to develop advanced aircraft and satellites that provide safer, more efficient and reliable travel. They also evaluate prototypes and produce parts for testing, including wings, engines, and gears.
They also design guidance and control systems that use GPS navigation to guide the flight of a spacecraft. They also evaluate aeroacoustics in a spacecraft and launch environment, which can affect the quality of the air for those near the craft.
Aerospace engineering is a field that blends big-picture thinking with technical expertise. It requires a high level of analytical ability, communication skills and a strong understanding of the cultural, legal, economic and ethical considerations of engineering.