The main area of engineering dealing with aircraft and spacecraft production is aerospace engineering. It has two main branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering, which overlap. Avionics research is equivalent, but works with aeronautics engineering’s electronics side.
Aerospace is a human initiative in the fields of science, engineering and industry to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics) combined in aeronautics engineering. Aerospace organizations shall design, create, produce, operate or maintain aircraft or spacecraft. Aerospace activities are very dynamic, with a wealth of commercial, automobile and military applications.
Aerospace is not the same as airspace, which is the actual air space immediately above the ground site. The beginning of space and the end of the air is known to be 100 km above the earth due to the physical explanation that the air pressure is too low for a moving body to produce significant lifting force without reaching orbital velocity. Modern aerospace started in 1799 with engineer George Cayley. Cayley suggested a “fixed wing and a horizontal and vertical tail,” plane, specifying the features of the new aircraft.
The 19th century saw the development of the British Aeronautical Society (1866), the American Rocketry Society, and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, both of which made aeronautics a more severe scientific discipline. Airmen such as Otto Lilienthal, who invented cambered airfoils in 1891, used gliders to study aerodynamic forces. The Wright brothers became interested in the work of Lilienthal and read many of his publications. They also sought inspiration in Octave Chanute, the airman and the author of Improvement in Flying Machinery (1894). It was the preliminary work of Cayley, Lilienthal, Chanute, and other early aeronautics engineers that led on December 17, 1903, to the Wright brothers’ first sustained flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Aerospace is a high-tech sector that develops airplanes, guided missiles, spacecraft, aircraft engines, propulsion systems and related materials. Most of the industry is centered on government service. The U.S. government has assigned a Commercial and Government Agency (CAGE) code for each original equipment manufacturer (OEM). These codes help to classify each manufacturer, repair facility and other important aftermarket vendor in the aeronautics industry.
The initial concept for the field was’ aeronautical engineering.’ The wider term ‘aeronautics engineering’ has come into use since flight technology has progressed to include spacecraft operating in outer space. Aeronautics engineering, especially the field of astronautics, is sometimes referred to colloquially as “rocket science”.
In the United States, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are the two major users of aeronautics equipment and goods. Others are the very large aviation industry. The aeronautics industry employed 472,000 wage and wage employees in 2006. Most of those jobs were in the state of Washington and California, with Missouri, New York and Texas also being significant. Boeing, United Technologies Corporation, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are the major aeronautics suppliers in the United States. This factories are facing growing labour shortages as qualified U.S. employees age and retire. Apprenticeship services such as the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Council (AJAC) operate in conjunction with Washington State Aerospace Employers and Community Colleges to prepare young engineering workers and bring the industry up to date.
Aeronautics engineering’s roots can be traced back to the founders of aviation in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, while Sir George Cayley’s practice dates from the last decade of the 18th to mid-19th century. Cayley is credited as the first person to distinguish the lift and drag forces that impact any atmospheric flight aircraft, one of the most influential persons in the history of aeronautics and a pioneer of aeronautical engineering. Early aeronautical engineering knowledge was mainly scientific, with some principles and expertise borrowed from other engineering branches. Any primary components were recognized by 18th-century physicists, such as fluid mechanics.
The Wright Brothers completed the first continuous, controlled flight of a powered, heavier-than-air plane, lasting 12 seconds, in December 1903. Via the construction of World War I military aircraft, the 1910s saw the advancement of aeronautical engineering.
Between World Wars I and II, big leaps were made in the area, intensified by the introduction of mainstream civil aviation. Notable aircraft of this period include Curtiss JN 4, Farman F.60 Goliath, and Fokker Trimotor. Notable military aircraft of this time include the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft from Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively. The first operational jet-powered aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 262, entered service in 1944 at the end of the Second World War, was a major advancement of aeronautics engineering.
The first concept of aeronautics engineering emerged in February 1958, treating the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space as a common domain, thereby encompassing both aircraft (aero) and spacecraft (space) under the newly coined word aeronautics.
In response to the U.S. launch of the first spacecraft, Sputnik, into orbit on October 4, 1957, U.S. aeronautics engineers launched the first U.S. satellite on January 31, 1958. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established in 1958 in response to the Cold War. Apollo 11, the first manned space flight to the moon, took place in 1969. Three astronauts joined the orbit around the Moon, two of them, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, visiting the lunar surface. The third astronaut, Michael Collins, remained in space to meet Armstrong and Aldrin during their visit.
An important innovation came on January 30, 1970, when the Boeing 747 took its first commercial flight from New York to London. This aircraft made history and became known as the “Jumbo Jet” or “Whale” because of its ability to hold up to 480 passengers.
Another important advance in aeronautics engineering was the development of the first commercial supersonic aircraft, the Concorde, in 1976. The French and British decided on the construction of this aircraft on 29 November 1962.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo aircraft began its first flight on 21 December 1988. It holds records for the world’s heaviest aircraft, the heaviest airlifted cargo, and the longest airlifted cargo, and has the widest wing span of any aircraft in operation. On 25 October 2007, the Airbus A380 took its maiden commercial flight from Singapore to Sydney, Australia. This aircraft was the first passenger aircraft to exceed the Boeing 747 in terms of passenger capacity, with a record of 853 passengers. While the production of this aircraft started in 1988 as a 747 rival, the A380 took its first test flight in April 2005.
Functional protection is critical in the aeronautics industry, which does not tolerate compromises or negligence. In this regard, supervisory authorities, such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), control the aeronautics industry with stringent certification requirements. This is designed to accomplish and maintain the best possible standard of protection.