Aerospaceengineers design parts, systems, and/or machines that operate in and aboveEarth’s atmosphere, such as planes, satellites, helicopters, and missiles.These of which can be used for military, research and exploration, orcommercial purposes. Aerospace engineers typically specialize in areas such asaerodynamics, thermodynamics, combustion, propulsion, navigation,instrumentation and communication, and structural design, and materials. Theirjob is primarily to design parts, systems and/or machines for aviation but it alsoincludes testing and evaluating prototypes, examining part or equipmentfailures, and overseeing manufacturing. There are two different main subfields of aerospaceengineering, aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aeronauticalengineering refers to machines and systems that function inside of Earth’satmosphere, while astronautical engineering refers to machines and systems thatfunction outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
Another field associated with Aerospaceengineering is avionics engineering. This field involves the electrical aspectsof aerospace engineering. Aerospace engineers spend a majority of their time in anoffice setting on computers.
Although they also may visit manufacturing plantswhere the parts are made to ensure that production is running efficiently andimpeccably. They may also visit laboratories where materials and substances arebeing tested and researched for use. Furthermore, they visit consumers toaccess their satisfaction with the product and to make sure that standards arebeing met. Lastly, they can be out testing prototypes for evaluation.
If planning to become an aerospace engineer, one shouldtake mathematics, physics and sciences, and computer classes during their highschool career. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree required to enter thefield, but a master’s degree is more attractive to employers. A bachelor’sprogram will cover the principles of engineering, combustion and propulsion,aerodynamics and thermodynamics, mechanics, and stability. Some colleges thatoffer an aerospace engineering program are: MIT, Georgia Institute ofTechnology, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Purdue University,University of Texas, California Institute of Technology, University ofIllinois, and Syracuse University. In 2016, there were roughly 70,000 jobs occupied byaerospace engineers.
The field is expected to grow by six percent from 2016 to2026. This is in part due to the competition to create aircraft that createless noise and have better fuel efficiency, the demand for more unmannedaviation, and new developments in satellites that are coming into greatercommercial viability according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professional engineering societies and organizations arevery helpful for their members. They do things such as sponsor conferences,help its members find jobs, hold workshops and courses, provide mentoring, andreview or edit works. A few aerospace engineering organizations include theAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), InternationalAstronautics Federation (IAF), American Astronautical Society (AAS), and theExperimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The history of aeronautical engineering dates back to thelate 1400’s when Leonardo de Vinci sketched two ideas for manned flight.
Onehad flapping wings like a bird and the other was similar to a helicopter. Itwasn’t until 1783 when the Montgolfierbrothers invented the hot air balloon, the first manned aerial vehicle. Thisstarted the age of lighter than air aircraft which would lead to George Cayleyinventing the glider in 1849. And of course in 1903, the Wright brotherscreated and flew the first successful airplane, dramatically changing the wayhumans fly. Technological advances in engines and turbines allowed the Boeing707 to be successfully flown in 1960 and this plane is the basis for mostairplanes today.In1926, Robert Goddard flew the first successful rocket proving that space flightmay be possible and marking the start of the new field of astronauticalengineering. In 1957 Sputnik, the first satellite orbited the Earth, and in1961 the first human went to space. Humans then landed on the moon in 1969.
After this achievement, astronautical engineering turned more to unmannedvoyages and satellites, but now the goal is to put a human on Mars.