What is Astronautical Engineering? | Q & A

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Simple Engineer
what is the Definition?

How its all began?

A brief history of field.

Nisar Kasai
Nisar Kasai May 2

Astronautical engineering, also known as space engineering, is a branch of engineering that specifically focuses on the design, development, testing, and production of vehicles that operate beyond Earth's atmosphere. This includes spacecraft, satellites, space launch vehicles, and space exploration systems.

Astronautical engineering is separated from aerospace engineering for similar historical and practical reasons as aeronautical engineering:

  1. Historical Reasons:

    • Astronautical engineering emerged as a distinct discipline during the Space Age in the mid-20th century, with the development of space exploration and the launch of the first artificial satellites and crewed space missions.
    • At that time, the focus was primarily on the design and development of vehicles for space exploration and travel, leading to the establishment of a separate field known as astronautical engineering.
  2. Practical Reasons:

    • Astronautical engineering has specific challenges and requirements that are unique to vehicles operating beyond Earth's atmosphere, such as orbital mechanics, space propulsion, and space structures.
    • By separating astronautical engineering from aerospace engineering, engineers can specialize in the unique challenges and requirements of space vehicle design and development.

While astronautical engineering is a subset of aerospace engineering, it is often treated as a separate discipline due to its historical roots and the specific challenges and requirements of space vehicle design and development. However, many academic programs and professional organizations now use the term "aerospace engineering" to encompass both aeronautical engineering (vehicles within Earth's atmosphere) and astronautical engineering (vehicles beyond Earth's atmosphere).