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Wade Ammons

Engineering Orientation
Industry Summary 3
Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineering is a vast field, primarily focused on the development of spacecraft.


Aerospace engineering can be traced back to the early 20th century with Orville and Wilbur
wright. Although their humble plane wasn’t near space worthy, they still started the aviation
revolution that followed soon after. Once Russia launched the first satellite into space, Sputnik,
the term aerospace engineering became its own. In response, Americans launched their own
satellite about 3 months afterword’s. Since then, there have been many advancements in the
field of flight and space travel. These are some of the elements that aerospace engineering
consists of:

 Radar cross-sections
 Fluid Mechanics
 Astrodynamics
 Statics and dynamics
 Mathematics
 Electrotechnology
 Control engineering
 Aircraft structures
 Materials Science
 Aeroelasticity
 Avionics
As seen by all of these, there are many different aspects of aerospace engineering, which
means that there will always be opportunities to explore and further technology in these areas.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 there were 72,500 employed aerospace
engineers, with a median pay of $109,650. To be completely honest, the pay means nothing to
me, rather the interest that I take in the job. Along with that, the vast majority of astronauts are
aerospace engineers, and becoming an astronaut is one of those far out goals that would be
awesome to achieve. The university of Illinois is in the top ten for aerospace engineering
schools, and would be a great place to further my understanding of it. Also, with a degree in
aerospace engineering, there are many different routes to be taken. They can work on both
planes and spacecraft, and most vehicles that must deal with air resistance or even fluid
resistance. Aerospace engineering sometimes is mixed up with rocket science, however these
are not the same things. First off, rocket science is an equation:
Vfinal=Vinitial(ln(massfinal)/ln(massinitial)).

Also, the field of engineering, while it includes science, is the HOW, and not the WHY.
Aerospace engineers strive to find how they can venture further into space, and not why it
happens. All in all, aerospace engineering is a very complex field of engineering (as all of them
are) and is very interesting, especially to those like me who are so interested in space.