Boeing Update

While reading through the blog posts of a Boeing blog I follow, I read a blog concerning recent news.  This previous Thursday 01 Dec 2011, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, ZA001, was decommissioned after flying from Seattle’s Boeing Field to Palmdale, CA.  This was nearly 2 years after its delayed maiden flight.  In a report by Flightblogger, the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines will be removed and the aircraft will be placed in storage until it finds a place in a museum.

So why did Boeing decide to decommission the 787 Dreamliner?  Unfortunately, I could not really find information other than that disclosed on the blog post, and there was not that much information on the blog post.  According to EETimes, the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner was delayed 6 months in Jun 2009, announcing it needed to reinforce the areas where the wings met the side of the aircraft.  Also, the reworking of the planes destroyed their commercial values, which clearly resulted in a decline in commercial profit.  So, from what I have read and presented to you, it seems that the 787 Dreamliner brought some economic and technological hardship to Boeing.  I guess that is why Boeing decided to ultimately decommission the 787 Dreamliner.

Further Information about Aerospace Engineering

Looking at my last blog post, I have come to realize I did not give you enough information to fully understand aerospace engineering.  I think it is important to fully understand aerospace engineering before we begin to discuss its impact on the space shuttle projects.  I think in this blog post I will present to you a history of aerospace engineering and then list some elements of the field.


Sir George Cayley, dated from the last decade of the 18th to the mid 19th century, was a pioneer in aeronautical engineering.  He is credited to be the first to separate the forces of lift and drag.  Some key elements of aerospace engineering were understood by scientists in the 18th century.  Concepts and skills of other branches of engineering and early experiments developed the early knowledge and understanding of aeronautical engineering.  Aeronautical engineering was further developed in the 1910s through the designing of military aircraft during World War I, following the successful flight of the Wright brothers.

Aerospace engineering was defined in Feb 1958, considering the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space in a single realm, and thereby encompassing aircraft (“aero”) and spacecraft (“space”).  In the same year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was founded in response to the Cold War.  US aerospace engineers launched the first US satellite on 31 Jan 1958 in reaction to the launch of the USSR’s Sputnik launch on 4 OCt 1957.


  • Fluid mechanics– the study of fluid flow around objects
  • Astrodynamics– the study of orbital mechanics
  • Statics– the study of mechanics on physical bodies in static equilibrium
  • Dynamics– the study of the causes of motion and changes in motion
  • Mathematics- specifically calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra
  • Electrotechnology– the electronics within engineering
  • Propulsion- the energy which moves vehicles through air or space
  • Control engineering– the study of control theory within systems having predictable behaviors
  • Aircraft structures- the design of the physical configuration of a craft
  • Materials science- the study of the properties of matter
  • Solid mechanics– the study of the behavior of solid matter under external actions
  • Aeroelasitcity– the interaction between aerodynamic forces and structural flexibility
  • Avionics– the design and programming of computer systems on aircrafts and spacecrafts
  • Risk and reliability- the study of assessment techniques and the mathematics involved in the quantitative methods
  • Noice control- the study of the mechanics of sound transfer
  • Flight test- the gathering of data during a craft’s flight and the analysis of this data to evaluate flight characteristics

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”.