For thousands of years, people enviously watched birds coast through the skies and wondered how they did it. But in the last one hundred years, flying on this earth has become as unremarkable as walking, and space travel is no longer the stuff of science fiction.
As an aerospace engineering major, you’ll learn the basics that helped the Wright brothers and others conquer the age-old problem of flight. You’ll learn how to apply these ideas to developing new types of air- and spacecraft that are better, safer, and stronger. You’ll find out how space flight works and dream up new ways of exploring galaxies unknown.
Aerospace engineering majors learn how to use math and science to design and develop aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They also study such topics as aerodynamics, orbits, launch, flight controls, and engines.
“There is something incredibly fascinating about how airplanes remain stable in flight and how satellites move around the earth.”Wendi, junior, aerospace engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
Are You Ready To...?
- Work as part of a team
- Intern at places like NASA and Boeing
- Possibly take more than four years to complete your major
- Balance a heavy course load
- Master abstract concepts like lift and drag
It Helps To Be...
Curious, creative, logical, and detail-oriented. This is a great major if you want to turn your ideas into useful machines.
- Is the program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology?
- Does the program focus more on aircraft or spacecraft?
- Are there hands-on building and flying opportunities, or do students mostly use computer simulations?
- What are the labs like? Are there wind tunnels? Are the computer and design labs big enough to serve all students?
Did You Know?
It was an intern at NASA who came up with the idea of using the gravity of planets to help send space probes to the ends of the solar system.
Once you make it to your third year as an aerospace engineering major, the action really begins. Your classes will involve labs and team projects. And you’ll most likely end your studies working with a team on a capstone project. You might test power systems or experimental landing gear, design spacecraft or aircraft on a computer, or even build actual landing gear or power systems.