Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

College of Engineering

Aeronautical and astronautical engineers apply their understanding of basic physical phenomena to design and operate aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles. Aeronautics is the design, development, analysis, testing, and production of aircraft for military or civilian markets. Astronautics is the design, development, analysis, testing, and production of rockets, spacecraft, and global space/international systems. As an aeronautics and astronautics student, you’ll follow a curriculum that explores the fundamentals of engineering science and the technologies and design of flight vehicles. Aircraft and spacecraft design courses integrate many engineering fields to provide a mastery of complete flight systems.

Note: The First-Year Engineering Program is the entry point for all beginning engineering students. They must complete the First-Year Engineering requirements before entering the engineering school of their choice. The mission of this student-oriented service program is to advise, teach and retain outstanding students for Purdue's College of Engineering. This core curriculum includes courses in math, chemistry, physics, computer programming, and communication skills, as well as introductory engineering coursework taught in the new Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Learning Laboratory. The First-Year Engineering Program provides students with a firm foundation and initial understanding of engineering and career options to assist them in identifying which of Purdue's engineering disciplines is the right fit. Our professional academic advisors, faculty and student advisors are dedicated to assisting beginning engineers with the first-year experience.

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Website

Plan of Study


Related Career Interests

Engineering and Technology

Science and Research

Careers in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

As an aeronautical or astronautical engineer, you can work in aviation, defense, space exploration—even the automotive industry. Specific responsibilities for an aeronautical engineer can include:

  1. Conducting wind tunnel tests on an aircraft model
  2. Designing and analyzing an airplane wing’s structure
  3. Testing aircraft engines

For an astronautical engineer:

  1. Designing power systems for satellites
  2. Developing communications systems
  3. Designing reusable space vehicles

Your career path could include graduate school or employment with one of many companies or organizations, including ATA Engineering, Ball Aerospace, Belcan, Blue Origin, Boeing, Butler America, Dassault Falcon Jet, General Electric (Aircraft Engines, Aviation and Transportation), Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, Military Service, NASA, NAS, NASIC, Navair, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, Rockwell Collins, Rolls-Royce, SpaceX, and Xcor Aerospace.

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