Aerospace Engineering: What is it?

Before we begin our discussion about the space shuttle projects, I think it is a good idea for us to understand what aerospace engineering is as a field of engineering.  So, let’s answer this question: What is aerospace engineering?

As defined in Wikipedia, aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering which utilizes the science of aircraft and spacecraft to design and construct such vehicles.  This field is composed of two primary overlapping fields of engineering:

Aerospace engineering studies/works with the physics of the forces and physical and aerodynamic characteristics of all aircraft and spacecraft.  The aircraft and spacecraft are designed and constructed around these properties.  Because of its complexity, aerospace engineering is conducted by groups of engineers, each group specifying in a certain aspect of the field.  Put quite simply, aerospace engineering is “rocket science”.

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