For FYEs’ Consideration: Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering

This is part of a brand new series called “For FYEs’ Consideration,” where we try to help First-Year-Engineering students figure out what discipline they want to pursue for the rest of their Purdue years. Today, we feature the AAE discipline. 

Aeronautical and astronautical engineers are involved in the design, manufacturing, and testing of aircraft and spacecraft. The first aeronautical and astronautical engineering degree was offered at Purdue by the School of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, before it was established as its own separate school in 1945. thumbnail_AerospaceEngineering2.jpgOver the last ten years, most of the aerospace engineering graduates in the U.S. have graduated from Purdue.

There are many opportunities for aerospace engineering students at Purdue including Design-Build-Fly or High Altitude Balloon projects. Students can participate in research in the fields of aerodynamics, aerospace systems, astrodynamics and space applications, dynamics and control, propulsion, and structures and materials; and they can take classes to expand their knowledge in those areas. They are also required to do a major and minor concentration in one of the following five areas:

  • Aerospace Systems Design – involves studying design methods and techniques
  • Aerodynamics – the study of fluid properties involving airborne bodies
  • Dynamics and Controls – involves studying orbits, trajectories, and vehicle guidance
  • Propulsion – involves studying aircraft engines and rocket powerplants (and fuel)
  • Structures and Materials – the study of structural analysis of aerospace materials

There are also several study abroad opportunities for aeronautical and astronautical engineers, including studying at the University of Bristol in the UK thumbnail_aerospaceengineering3jand ESTACA in Paris, and co-op opportunities including one at Honeywell Aerospace.

After they graduate, aerospace engineers can work in manufacturing, engineering services, and research. They can also work for the federal government developing aircraft and aerospace products at facilities such as NASA. Thirteen out of the twenty-three astronauts who have graduated from Purdue had a degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, including Neil Armstrong and Janice E. Voss.

-Bailey Hayes and Subhiksha (your editor)

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