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Astronautics: Bridging Earth and Space

Are you confused with the 500 variants of engineering and lost as to which type of engineering to do? Maybe aerospace engineering is the one for you.

Aerospace engineering, as the name suggests, is not just building spacecraft and airplanes. It is more than that. Aerospace engineering is the fine line that joins all the intricacies of physics, math, material science, and computer science. Aerospace engineering is the kind of engineering to choose if you love space and all forms of engineering. It has loads of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering, and structural engineering.


Astronaut Scott Kelly in the Cupola. (n.d.). NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/astronaut-scott-kelly-in-the-cupola

Before I ramble on about why astronautics is pretty cool, let me clear out one confusion. Aeronautics and astronautics are not the same.

  1. Astronautics: Engineering that concerns space exploration, rockets, and spacecraft.

  2. Aeronautics: Engineering and production, covering both helicopter and airplane design.

I will be focusing mostly on astronautics, but don't worry; if you feel that the design and manufacture of airplanes are more for you, then there is always aeronautical engineering! To understand whatever is going on in astronautics, you need to understand what is going on in aeronautics.


lexss.libraryy adlı kullanıcının unsorted but sorted panosundaki Pin, 2023 | Uzay mühendisliği, Uzay araştırmaları, Astrofizik. (n.d.). Pinterest. https://tr.pinterest.com/pin/776871004491748537/

AERONAUTICS


Aeronautics is the scientific and technical discipline concerned with the design, development, and operation of aircraft such as airplanes and helicopters. It entails understanding how things fly, designing airplanes that can transport people and freight safely, and ensuring that they can take off, land, and navigate through the Earth's atmosphere. Aeronautics is essentially the science and technology of flying inside our planet's air.


Aeronautics is crucial for commercial, military, and general purposes, and as technology advances, it continues to impact the way we travel and communicate globally. This field is constantly evolving, with developments like electric propulsion and supersonic technology.

ASTRONAUTICS


Aeronautics is what further molds astronautics. Astronautics is the discipline of science and engineering that deals with all aspects of space flight and exploration. It is concerned with the design, construction, and operation of spacecraft such as rockets, satellites, and space probes. Astronautics is the study and exploration of space, including the moon, planets, and beyond. It is the field that allows space missions and discoveries to take place.

It's not rocket science to understand it honestly; oh, wait, it might be. But it's just launching rockets! Maybe it is not as easy as I made it sound, but it sure will be interesting. You will be the one building it! You will be part of space exploration and answering all the questions that scientists are researching right now, as I type. Astronautics is heavily based on physics and mathematics, so if you think the two are your forte, then you are already halfway there. Of course, you will not be building just spacecraft. You will be manufacturing and innovating all the stuff that is in space and made by humans. Rovers, satellites, space probes, and much more

 

HIGH DEMAND OF AEROSPACE SECTOR


Recreational Oxygen Equipment Market Size | Industry Report, 2026. (n.d.). Recreational Oxygen Equipment Market Size | Industry Report, 2026. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/recreational-oxygen-equipment-market

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Accuracy-provided-by-Google-expressed-in-meters_tbl3_328510632

Aerospace sector has always been in high demand and will always be.

USA

UK

AUSTRALIA

STARTING SALARIES

$80,000

£35,000

AUD 80,000

SALARY AT MID LEVEL

$80,000 to $130,000

£35,000 to £60,000

AUD 70,000 to AUD 120,000

SALARY AT SENIOR LEVEL

$100,000 to $180,000

£50,000 to £100,000

AUD 100,000 to AUD 180,000


 

AEROSPACE ENGINEERING AT UNIVERSITY


You can either get a BSc in Engineering/Mechanical Engineering/Aerospace Engineering (USA), a BEng/MEng in Aerospace Engineering (UK), a BSc in Aerospace Engineering (Australia), or a BSc for the other countries. (Masters is generally further required for better exposure to work experience.)

Allow me to demonstrate what you will be studying at university.

MODULES AEROSPACE ENGINEERING IS FOCUSED ON:

  1. AERODYNAMICS: This one is just lovely. It is what all mechanical engineers focus on and a word that non-stem students consider fancy. In a nutshell, it's just aerodynamic engineers investigating the behavior of air and the forces it exerts on vehicles in order to improve efficiency and performance.

  2. PROPULSION SYSTEMS: Propulsion systems, in simple terms, means motors. Aerospace engineers create and upgrade engines and propulsion systems. This includes jet engines for airplanes, rocket engines for space travel, and even sophisticated concepts like ion propulsion for deep-space missions, but you do not have to worry about that for now. It is just motors.

  3. STRUCTURAL DESIGN: As the name suggests, you are going to make sure that whatever you send out in space will last for years. The structural integrity and safety of spacecraft is a top priority. Engineers employ new materials and techniques to create lightweight yet sturdy structures that can resist the severe conditions of space or high-speed flight.

  4. FLIGHT CONTROL AND AVIONICS: Basically, controlling the spacecraft when it is out in space, so that you can get all the useful information. From weather forecast to see unknown bits of the universe (south pole of the moon which is now known thanks to India).

  5. SPACE EXPLORATION: The most fun bit out of all, getting to see what is out in space. Aerospace engineers play a critical part in space exploration efforts. They create spacecraft to study planets, collect data from the universe, and even transport personnel to the International Space Station (ISS) or on deep-space missions.

  6. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: Engineers are always pushing the frontiers of technology, investigating new materials, propulsion systems, and design concepts to increase performance, efficiency, and safety.

  7. TESTING AND SIMULATION: Extensive testing and simulations are carried out before any spacecraft is launched or placed into service to assure its safety and performance. Wind tunnels, computer simulations, and prototypes are used by engineers to validate their ideas.

  8. ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: To lessen the environmental effect of aviation and space travel, aerospace engineers also try to focus on creating environmentally friendly technologies such as more fuel-efficient engines and electric propulsion systems.

TUITION FEES**

USA

UK

AUSTRALIA

DOMESTIC

$50,000

£9,000

AUD 10,000

INTERNATIONAL

$50,000

£30,000

AUD 30,000

**These are on average. The actual tuition fees depend on the university. The University of Oxford is £44,000 for international students, while City University of London is only £19,770. Scholarships, bursaries, and financial aid are also available.


You can study aerospace engineering in other developing/developed countries that are advancing in the aerospace sector too. For e.g., India, Japan, France.


I hope that my overview of aerospace engineering gave you all the information that one would need.


Anushka, Women in STEM
























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