What is an Aerospace Engineer?

Aerospace technology put a man on the Moon.
An aerospace engineer might be tasked with converting old military aircraft for civilian use.
Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci engineered several aircraft concepts, like helicopters, that would become viable centuries later.
The aerospace engineers at Boeing who designed the 747 had to factor numerous economic and safety issues into their design.
Aeronautical engineers who work for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, which built the stealthy F-22 Raptor, must usually pass background checks.
Some areospace engineers help design manned spacecraft.
Aerospace engineers drew from knowledge gained from the X-15, X-20, and X-24 programs when designing the space shuttle.
Aerospace engineers had to program the avionics on the F-16 to hinder movement, as the aircraft can turn so tightly that the G-forces could harm its pilot.
An aerospace engineer who works for a company that builds light aircraft may be tasked with designing a new crop duster model.
Though small, non-rigid airships like those seen at sporting events have dominated the lighter than air market since the 1930s, several firms are currently designing a new generation of large, rigid airships.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2015
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The aerospace engineer is a highly skilled professional that functions within the development of missiles, spacecraft, and aircraft used for travel and the transport of goods from one location to another. Within the broad range of aerospace engineers, there are also subgroups of engineers who focus on specific areas of aeronautic research and development.

An aeronautical engineer is a type of aerospace engineer that focuses on the development and production of airborne vehicles that are designed for passenger transport, as well as the transport of goods from one location to another. This particular field of expertise would involve everything from small single airplanes to large jets that make it possible for hundreds of passengers to fly from one city to another. Aeronautics also involve the design and construction of airborne vehicles that are used for military purposes as well. Thus, the aerospace engineer with a focus on aeronautics may be involved in the process of developing newer and faster forms of aircraft that will be used for military defenses of a nation or group of nations.


Another specialized type of aerospace engineer is the astronautical engineer. Engineers working in this field are concerned with the development and construction of devices that are considered suitable for space travel and exploration. Within this range of expertise, an aerospace engineer will be involved in the structural design of the various systems that are part of satellites, probe ships, and space shuttles. Because of the fact that many of these devices are launched for permanent placement in outer space, an aerospace engineer working in this type of aeronautic field will include equipment and software within the design of most devices. Provisions are made for designs and functions that allow remote access to data, creation of devices that allow remote repair to the vessel and any of the support systems, such as tracking equipment, cameras, and radio frequency equipment that is used to send and receive signals.

An aerospace engineer will possess an extensive educational background in the field of aeronautics, often with a focus in one sector of the field. Along with graduate degrees obtained through accredited university programs, it is not unusual for an aerospace engineer to take advantage of continuing education opportunities through seminars and workshops, thus keeping his or her level of knowledge current and up to date.


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