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What's a day in the life of an aerospace engineer like?

Aeronautical or astronautical, it doesn't matter. I'm interested in pursuing a major in aerospace engineering, but I want to get a scope of what applying it to a career is like.

#engineering #aerospace-engineering


Hey ..this is Karthik .I had completed masters degree in aerospace engineering . To pursue major Aerospace engg You have to good in math and physics . Mostly focus on real time projects . I used to work hard to good grades . Just focus you will succeed .. if u need help let me know Karthik B.

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Mack’s Answer

Aerospace Engineering is a very broad field. There are many roles within the field that fit the individual's strengths, goals, personality and aspirations. I can provide you my current experience as an engineer. Through out my career, I have always been interested in exploring new horizons within the field and my role has changed numerous times as I have always been ambitious to be part of the next big thing. Currently I am a Project Engineer for a company that is part of the Aviation Industry. A day in the life of a project engineer involves multi tasking to see projects through. Most big to mid-size companies take on customer requested engineering services in the form of a project or program. The program manager or project engineer (Technical Program Manager) plays a key role in managing the program from kick off to close. During a typical day I am involved in discussing progress with engineers who directly contribute to the project. I ensure their tasks are on track and mitigate where I can to prevent delays. I may facilitate where I can to help engineers finish tasks/deliverables. A typical day can also include reporting to upper management or executive leadership team on project progress and risks or issues. There is also plenty of collaboration with supply chain to ensure parts and material are on track to meet production demands. One more important part of my roles is working with accounts management and or sales team to ensure proper engineering input into quotes and or proposals provided to customers in response to RFQ (request for quote), contracts and/or project bids.
There are many functions for the project engineer role that require a strong background in engineering with the ability to lead several teams in support of program needs. It requires lots of cross-functional collaborate work for which the PE is the key member to bring it all together.
I hope this helps provide some insight into the typical day for this particular role. I would be happy to provide more insight or answer any specific questions you may have. I recommend you pursue a role within this very rewarding industry. The fact that you are considering this path already says a lot about the challenges that you are willing to face. Good luck!

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Vincenzo’s Answer

Depends on what you choose to do. Aerospace Engineering is a wide area. We can divide it in three main fields, propulsion, structures and aerodynamic. What is the best one? It's only on what you like more. I am a structural aerospace engineer and I use try every day to use my creativity for innovation. I do research on what I can use to solve some problem in a fast and accurate way. I do calculate to look if a structure is safe or not under given loads. Usually low I spend 8 hours at my office. The rest of the day I read a lot, since I like it, run, gym, stay with my lover. Seems there is not always the time to do everything but you can do that!


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Uma’s Answer

In my point of view Aerospace Engineering refers to learning and discovering new facts of space science.


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Brianna’s Answer

I'm a practicing aerospace engineer, about 10 years experience. In that time, I've worked on multiple satellite programs, as well as spent a few years in the automotive industry, software development, and even some time on a civil engineering project in grad school. My days typically tend to be some mix of solitary work in my office, meetings with colleagues, and doing testing work on site either alone or in a group. Sometimes I will be writing a paper on my work or research, or traveling to a conference to present it to my colleagues. Sometimes I will be reading papers describing a satellite's operational premise and capabilities, and working with colleagues to determine if the builders have taken every necessary consideration into account when creating their plan. Other times I will be on site with colleagues conducting tests on spacecraft to make sure that everything will work properly once the spacecraft is launched and in orbit. One memorable field trip involved suiting up in cold weather gear for days on a coal barge in the Chicago Shipping Canal, where we literally banged coal barges into each other in electrically charged water to measure the voltage discharge created at the collision (look up the Asian Carp in the Mississippi river, and the Army Corps of Engineers voltage barrier). How you spend your average day as an engineer will vary a lot based on your specialty (planes, rockets, satellites, or something more exotic/abstract), but you can usually count on your days being a combination of reading/writing technical documents, meetings with colleagues, working out various technical concepts, performing testing/analysis/experiment work onsite, or writing computer code (nearly all engineers have to know at least some programming to get their math done).

If you'd like to be an engineer, definitely you need to have your math and physics down cold. Don't worry if they don't come naturally to you - engineers have to go far enough in these subjects that nearly everyone runs out of natural ability to easily comprehend the material at some point. The important thing is to learn how to persevere. Some other skill sets that are valuable which they don't mention as much to people your age are reading comprehension, writing ability, communications skills, and EQ (emotional intelligence). These skills are as important as raw technical ability and tend to be neglected by many young engineers, so you will be a step ahead of the game if you work on acquiring them.

Finally, I would say that the most important thing to know is that in this field, you will get out of college but you'll never get out of learning. The purpose of university is really just to put the basics in your head and show a potential employer that you are capable of learning. The jobs you're on will always require you to be learning something new. If this appeals to you, then you will make a great engineer.

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karthik’s Answer

Aerospace Engineers perform engineering duties in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques. They also formulate mathematical models or other methods of computer analysis to develop, evaluate, or modify design, according to customer engineering requirements.
Other tasks include:
Plan or conduct experimental, environmental, operational, or stress tests on models or prototypes of aircraft or aerospace systems or equipment.
Formulate conceptual design of aeronautical or aerospace products or systems to meet customer requirements or conform to environmental regulations.
Plan or coordinate investigation and resolution of customers’ reports of technical problems with aircraft or aerospace vehicles.
Write technical reports or other documentation, such as handbooks or bulletins, for use by engineering staff, management, or customers.
Direct or coordinate activities of engineering or technical personnel involved in designing, fabricating, modifying, or testing of aircraft or aerospace products.
Diagnose performance problems by reviewing reports or documentation from customers or field engineers or by inspecting malfunctioning or damaged products.

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Rick’s Answer

My answer is it really depends on your interests. By this I mean there are many disciplines within aerospace engineering and generally in all aerospace companies. They range from doing detailed designs of parts to ensuring designs are physically and functionally integrated to technical sales. I spent 37 years in the aerospace industry and stared by writing/modifying computer applications for aerodynamic performance and sales brochures.
I then went into technical sales where we worked with the customers to define their purchased airplane configuration and manage their airplanes through the production process. Working with Manufacturing, Contracts and the customer's onsite representative to address production/contractual issues that arose during the production of their airplanes. We also managed the technical and legal definition of the basic airplane model definition and developed new product features dealing with the Program Office, Finance, Design Engineering and Material Purchasing.

I spent the remainder of my career as a Systems Engineer (not the IS centric utilization of the job title, but the practices defined by INCOSE (https://www.incose.org/). Systems Engineering has a series of practices and products to make sure that a development program is successful from a technical perspective (i.e. requirements definition, risk management, technical performance measures, physical and functional integration rigorous program reviews [Systems Requirements Review, Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, Readiness for test ).

Rick recommends the following next steps:

I agree with Jack's post try and get an internship. There are some companies that let students shadow their employees. Get familiar with your local INCOSE chapter, they may be able to provide other ideas or make a connection between you and an aerospace company
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Catherine’s Answer

Hopefully from the answers you can see how broad the subject is. There are so many applications to Aerospace Engineering that no single answer will be the same. I studied Aerospace and then joined the Air Force which has given me a very diverse career. Throughout my 11 years in the Air Force a day in my life could be:

Operations role:

  • Morning technical brief - brief from technicians on the aircraft states (for 19 jets)
  • Morning pilot brief - Brief from aircrew on flying program for the day and priorities. I would then brief them on the available aircraft and the forecast for maintenance.
  • Identifying the risks of maintenance on jet aircraft loaded with weapons. Performing risk assessments to authorize maintenance on armed aircraft and communicating with aircrew and operations staff to ensure the back-up aircraft could maintain readiness while the maintenance was performed.
  • Ensuring resources - manpower, tools, test equipment, procedures were available to maintain the aircraft.
  • Leading my team through their own development. Giving them tasks to research and improve aircraft maintenance procedures .
  • Reporting and investigating root cause of maintenance or air safety occurrences (e.g. fire in avionics bay). Communicating issues to the relevant teams to understand if there is a problem that affects all aircraft.
  • Problem solving between different subject matter experts - bring my team together to analyze, identify and rectify root cause of persistent faults.
  • Shift handover - handover brief to night shift on aircraft state, occurrences from the day and priorities.

Delivery team / project management role:

  • Work with aircrew, engineers and design team to understand areas for reliability and capability improvements. Bring people together to understand problems and identify requirements going forward.
  • Analyze root cause of air safety occurrences (e.g. engine shut-down in flight) to understand the overall risk and mitigate it from happening in future - through modification / procedural / training / resource etc.
  • Write maintenance policy and procedures for fault diagnosis - to provide improvements in reliability.
  • Lead multiple projects through concept to delivery.



Catherine recommends the following next steps:

Review a number of answers and then delve into a particular area that you like the sound of to understand the variety of applications.
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Eric’s Answer

Aerospace engineering encompasses a variety of different engineering disciplines from materials science to programming FPGAs for spacecraft control systems! My job varies on a day-to-day basis, however, most of my job can be categorized by systems engineering (how complex sub-systems interact with one another), fluid analysis (modelling of fluid flows using computational fluid dynamics software, writing your own software, etc.) of propellant feed systems and rocket engines, and interfacing with others to develop test plans to verify system requirements and specify requirements for suitable components to ensure our system functions as intended. My job is definitely more on the fluids side of aerospace and is, in my opinion, SUPER fun! Even if you are in more of an analysis role (like I have been), you will still get to see the fruits of your labor. Everyday brings a new challenge. It's almost like a puzzle where you have to apply mathematical and scientific theory to predict the performance of a propulsion system. And I know what most of you are thinking... yes, I do get to see rocket engines fire and it NEVER gets old. If you've ever built model rockets as a kid, it's essentially like that except 100 times more exciting to watch your system in action. I didn't have a perfect GPA in college, but I was incredibly passionate and devoted countless hours towards relevant extra-circulars. Definitely start thinking about joining design teams that may interest you when looking into engineering schools. Many universities have similar programs across the country, so, when visiting engineering schools, definitely ask about the design teams on campus. When you start out in engineering, it may feel overwhelming. HOWEVER, if you're passionate about what you're studying, you'll naturally feel inclined to work hard to achieve your goals of entering into the aerospace industry. Even today, there are moments where my job feels surreal because of how ambitious our goal is, but it made all of the hard work in college absolutely worth every second and I cannot imagine taking part in any other field. I feel excited about going to tackle new challenges every day I go into work. One day you'll find yourself learning about electrical engineering, and the next day, you'll be learning about the thermochemistry of hypergolic combustion reactions (look up examples of hypergolic reactions if you haven't, they're pretty cool and don't require a source of ignition). I will end my answer here because I could drone on for days about how exciting the aerospace industry is.

Eric recommends the following next steps:

Ask about design teams when looking at engineering schools
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There's always time to discover your specific passions (structures, propulsion, avionics, etc.) if you're currently unsure
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Take a variety of technical electives until you find a specialty you click with
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John’s Answer

Hi. I work in the sales and business development side and I am an aeronautical engineer and former military pilot. Our days usually start at 8:00 AM. Our engineers have several design meetings a day and each work on several projects at the same time. There are those that work on data collection, others work on project management to ensure complex projects are run well. Others work in production supervision. The greatest satisfaction is to know that your work will actually materialize in a new product such as satellite communications radio gets installed - a plane or helicopter flying or even a satellite launches into space. Many times the work is not very exciting - it is tedious and you must be detail oriented and disciplined. However the rewards are many. Aeronautical engineers get paid well and work with many other brilliant people. Work usually ended around 5:00 PM - sometimes we work late or on weekend ago every important projects / but. It too often. Sometimes we travel to military bases if we are working on government projects and get to see some of the aircraft up close and get to see them fly. Becoming a aero engineer is not easy and you must study hard and get good grades in high school and college - however the rewards are great and exciting and you will be very proud of your work!


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Johnathan’s Answer

I am currently a student studying Aerospace Engineering so I provide a different view point from the other members who may already be in the career field. I am a Senior at the moment and I am working on my Capstone Project. I am the systems engineer for the project and responsible for ensuring that all components are integrated together seamlessly and without problems. Obviously this is a difficult task. Prior to being on this project, I am part of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), which is the professional organization for Aerospace Engineers. Our local student chapter participates in the annual Design-Build-Fly (DBF) competition where teams are tasked with designing, building, and testing/flying a UAV to compete in a series of missions laid out in the rules. This is a huge competition, with teams from all over the world participating. In addition to DBF, AIAA hosts annual student conferences where students can present on topics that they are working on to other students and professionals in their area. This is a great networking opportunity and attracts large companies and government organizations who are looking for the next engineers to hire to their companies.

Aerospace engineering is not an easy degree to get. I don't want to discourage prospective students, but this is the degree program at our school that has one of the highest drop-out/transfer rates to other programs. It requires a lot of time and effort to do well in, but the rewards for completing it are immense. There are many areas of the degree that you can specialize in from aircraft to spacecraft and every part on each. Aerospace engineering is one of the career fields on the rise and there are many opportunities after college to join a company that fits your interests.

Johnathan recommends the following next steps:

Decide on a School that you want to attend
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Research programs and see if they offer specialties in either aeronautics or astronautics
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Decide if you want to do air or space
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Reach out to professionals in the field to get their advice
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Rick’s Answer

My answer will be similar to many of the others. Aerospace engineering covers a broad spectrum of skills, products and services. My experiences were 37+ years dealing with commercial airplane platforms. Mostly on the commercial side, but also 6 plus years on the military side. My jobs varied between software design, airplane performance analysis, a corporate re-engineering program spent the majority of my career as a Systems Engineer (Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design and manage complex systems over their life cycles. At its core, systems engineering utilizes systems thinking principles to organize this body of knowledge. The individual outcome of such efforts, an engineered system, can be defined as a combination of components that work in synergy to collectively perform a useful function. - Note: there are many different skills contained within the discipline of Systems Engineering).

From my experiences there is no simple answer to your question since some of it really depends on your specific engineering discipline (Electrical, Structural, Software, Mechanical, Integration, etc.). Besides the required technical skills the one piece of advice I would give is to make sure that you have good social skills. All programs run according to the schedule and the budget. And while supposedly integrated, at a day to day level you will need to work with those who provide inputs to you and those two whom you provide your finished product. Invariably the integration of the budget and schedule can fall apart at the individual to individual level. At this level interpersonal skills and the ability negotiate will be of tremendous importance.

Rick recommends the following next steps:

Think about what aspects of aerospace engineering intrigues you (design, software development, integration, supplier management,...)
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Generally the aerospace industry has been subject to feast and famine (hiring/layoffs). Meaning hiring and firing. Some skills are more transferable to other industries. As you think about your preferred skills, also think about which of these skills are transferable to other industries and are those industries of interest to you?
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Ankur’s Answer

Aishwarya,

I had the same question when I was choosing my major. In my experience, Aerospace Engineering is really what you make it to be. An Aerospace education will expose you to a breadth of technical fields some major examples of which are mechanical, electrical, and software/computer science. In the 4 years since I left the University of Illinois with a BS Aerospace Engineering, I have been able to apply myself in all aspects of the programs I have worked (mostly Avionics hardware and software development programs). This has led to me progressing towards my career goals (project management, leadership roles) much faster than those that came from more specific technical majors/backgrounds. One other thing you should think about is how much you are interested in aviation or space. In my experience, those with a true passion for Aerospace are more successful when it comes to applying what we learn in school to the real world. My passion for aircraft has helped me more than many of my school courses because it has allowed for me to more effectively work with customers and end users (pilots) and ensure that the product we build is the right product for the application.

As for your question on the day to day life, it again is what you want it to be. I know Aerospace Engineers that just do requirements and paperwork all day. Other Aerospace Engineers will be working on cutting edge technologies and will work with the end user to design and build the future.

Hope this helps! Good luck,

Ankur

Ankur recommends the following next steps:

Assess your passion for Aerospace
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Look at more than rankings/coursework for selecting a school
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Joshua’s Answer

My experience:

Me asking lots of design questions to fellow older experienced engineers. Or bouncing off ideas for how to solve design problems and challenges.

Always under the gun for deadlines.

Get to have fun with new and exciting projects.

Learn about all aspects of engineering from electrical to manufacturing.

Joshua recommends the following next steps:

Find something you enjoy. For me it’s CAD and 3D printing. Even when I’m not at work I’m exploring new and faster ways to do things because I love what I do and it interests me.
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Alan’s Answer

As an aerospace engineering graduate there are many different opportunities. I found the education only provides the base knowledge that leads to a lot of learning the details as you go. I am a mechanical engineer working for aerospace companies. I started with aircraft nacelles, performing thermal analysis before pc’s. This was a lot more tedious than today’s systems, but I really learned more about thermal dynamics than I got in school. I was not great at it in school, but got very good and respected when I made cost saving suggestions that worked. I moved into testing as I prefer the hands on hardware life over the computer modeling. I work with the analysts who model spacecraft for the last 20 years. The engineers work with the Initial design concepts, build models and analyze details on the stresses from thermal, flight and pressure. There is a lot of time on the computer along with hours with the team and some with the customers. Once the spacecraft is built, there are many tests to verify the predictions made by the engineers. This is a very interesting and challenging career choice that has always kept me employed. Enjoy yours.

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Consuelo’s Answer

I work for gov, and I think that may be very different than industry (depending on the team) but my day to day is pretty simple. I go to work and have a set list of tasks. I then go to meetings, take classes, work on my tasks, and do some paperwork. The field of aerospace engineering is so broad... you can really do any and everything within it. I have friends that do software, I do research/dev, and I have a friend devloping materials. The tasks I find not as difficult as college assignments, but still interesting! I specifically word a lot with CAD and 3D printing. I find the deadlines CAN be really close, but usually are pretty lenient which makes it a lot less stressful than school. I think it's a great choice as a career and gives you a lot of opportunity to grow and learn about a lot of different areas! :) 


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Jack’s Answer

Hi <span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);">Aishwarya, I studied Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University. The program there is pretty good. The department is pretty small so you can expect a close relationship with your classmates and the professor too. They teach you a wide range of the basics of aerospace engineering from aerodynamics to CAD. Now working in the industry after college, it is very hard in the bay area to get into the field since there are not as many opportunities. However, there are still big ones here like Lockheed and SSL. I recommend getting an internship during school, because that will help you </span>acquire<span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);"> full time job. If you are very interested in general on how airplane works or fluid works I recommend pursing the education and career. </span>


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Gerard’s Answer

It is interesting to achieve such deep and powerful knowledge. You must be ready to stress your mind and work hard. If you're really into other topics such as music or arts or lenguages, it will be a painful path because the engineering path truly wants you to become another gear in the chain. If you're creative enough and don't want to give up on anything you like, you will be facing perhaps a working position that you're not confortable with. Nevertheless, in the end depends in your capacity of endurance and how far you're willing to fight for a job that truly suits all your ambitions. Aerospace studies only provide you with useful information; then you have to know yourself to find the topic you really want to work on. With all this being said, if you really think you can get along with such studies and build up the idea of who you want to become, I'm sure you will find in the end an engineering job which will get you a challenging and exciting daily experience.


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Paul’s Answer

Aerospace Engineering is a very broad topic, but it is a really fascinating field of engineering. For example, my first engineering job was working for NASA on the Space Shuttle Program. I had to know a lot about the most complicated thing that ever flew into space! My education played a key role in what I had to learn, but it still involved a lot of studying to know what I needed to know to sit in the Mission Control Center. You will need to be able to apply what you know, not just spout out facts. As you grow as an Aerospace Engineer, you will begin to shift your career toward a more focused path - whether that is in aeronautics or astronautics, wings or propulsion, etc - and as you gain years of experience, you will fine-tune how you apply your engineering skills and background on a daily basis to create capabilities.

Paul recommends the following next steps:

Explore what fields in Aerospace Engineering you want to study, so that you can further develop your skills as an engineer.
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Zak’s Answer

Aerospace in my experience has been very demanding. You are working on very challenging problems but working in public or private are very different. At NASA you might be working on a small problem of optimizing the bell of a heatshield or JPL you might be designing a Mars Rover or at SpaceX you might be in charge of making a collection of parts. You will be working 40 hours a week at NASA, 40-50 at a company like blue origin, and 50-70 at somewhere like SpaceX. But the 70-80 hour work weeks at SpaceX are not long - after working 10-12 hours a day Monday - Saturday, I missed work on Sunday my day off. The great challenges yield really great excitement


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Mohamed’s Answer

I am interest about aerospace and maintenance engineering


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Maria’s Answer

I am a Mechanical Engineer, Aviation Manager, and have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Before I returned to college I was Professional Pilot and Flight Instructor. I am a member of AOPA, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association.

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Jon’s Answer

It can really depend on what you end up specializing within in within the field. But in general, probably most of your time will be spent in front of a computer doing analysis. But you could also spend time doing testing. Hopefully, early in your career, you will also spend a significant amount of time with a knowledgeable and experienced mentor to learn from.

Jon recommends the following next steps:

Watch some lecture videos on coursera or MIT open courseware and see how you like them
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Mohammad Moeid’s Answer

A professional aerospace engineer usually ends up working in a few major areas; vehicle design, structural analysis, aerodynamics, thermal analysis or flight control system design. I am personally from the structural end of the spectrum and in my job, I worked with many engineers from different subsection of structural analysis to ensure the designs were safe. We typically use software to simulate how the structure will behave under various operational loadings and try to make sure things don't break.

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Sneha’s Answer

aerospace engineering is developing yourself in the aerospace industry day by day in the field of design, structures and manufacturing.


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Maria’s Answer

Each day is different and can be challenging and/or boring!!!

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Michael’s Answer

Look for the schools that have programs. I received my Aerospace Engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1989. I got a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I went to work in the automotive industry in fuel economy simulation. Some other people I work with with this degree work in the GM wind tunnel. The local company in Detroit in aerospace industry you may want to contact is Williams International. Most aerospace industry jobs are outside of Michigan. You should be good in math and science and enjoy working with these. Study calculus and advanced math along with physics. Get internship experiences. Ask me any more questions.


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Megha’s Answer

hey its i have completed my bachelors in Aeronautical engineering and i have done my m.tech in machine design and robotics and got selected as instructor in indian government helicopter maintenance instructor and rather than astronaut you have multiple other opportunities of career as aeronautical engineer like aircraft maintenance engineer, cfd engineer, structural engineer, thermal engineer,quality engineer

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Anais’s Answer

If you are hired as an Aerospace Engineer, you will either be designing the aircraft structures (i.e. fuselage, wings, ECS System, etc.), or you will perform structural analysis on those bodies.
A perk is you usually get to visit hangars and physically see the aircraft you work on.

You can also work in the Aerospace Industry in other fields of Engineering, such as Electrical, Mechanical, Manufacturing, Materical science, and more. Depends where your interests lie. Usually Aerospace companies are large enough where you can wander between job roles easily to try different areas out.

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Zachary’s Answer

I think that it would be interesting to design aircraft, but doing so is challenging and tedious. An engineer would have to do a lot of calculations and testing to make sure that an aircraft design works.


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Abdul Ahad’s Answer

It is the best way to challenge the sky.


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waisavkhi’s Answer

Aerospace engineers world is soo different, challenging and each day is like working hard with compassion and they does their work with more dedication, love what they do and in fact are to be space freaks, otherwise the subject is of no use. They love their work.

Who want to choose this area had to be strong, dedicated and a space freak, so they can solve complex issues in the area.


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karthik’s Answer

Aerospace Engineers perform engineering duties in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques. They also formulate mathematical models or other methods of computer analysis to develop, evaluate, or modify design, according to customer engineering requirements.
Other tasks include:
Plan or conduct experimental, environmental, operational, or stress tests on models or prototypes of aircraft or aerospace systems or equipment.
Formulate conceptual design of aeronautical or aerospace products or systems to meet customer requirements or conform to environmental regulations.
Plan or coordinate investigation and resolution of customers’ reports of technical problems with aircraft or aerospace vehicles.
Write technical reports or other documentation, such as handbooks or bulletins, for use by engineering staff, management, or customers.
Direct or coordinate activities of engineering or technical personnel involved in designing, fabricating, modifying, or testing of aircraft or aerospace products.
Diagnose performance problems by reviewing reports or documentation from customers or field engineers or by inspecting malfunctioning or damaged products.

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Fadwa’s Answer

So as you can see from all the answers above, Aerospace Engineering is an exciting field with many possibilities. I'd like to add a different perspective as I'm a student in my senior year of an Aerospace Engineering program with an Astro focus. My advice is to get involved in extracurriculars in college early on. Not only does it help boost your resume for jobs and internships, but it can really help you decide what you would like to do once you graduate. I joined my college's rocket team as soon as I could. We design, build and launch liquid rockets. Through that, I have been exposed to design and research in the fields of composites, propulsion, aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, software development, electrical engineering, and many more. I've seen more than one student change their majors because they loved working on one of the subsystems of the rocket more than the others, I also have seen students focus more on a certain discipline, like an aero student who loves software or another who became passionate about the manufacturing side, or composites work. So, although you have to work hard in your classes, a perfect 4.0 is not necessary, but a varied, hands-on extracurricular experience will always be beneficial.

Fadwa recommends the following next steps:

Get involved in hands on project.
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Build stuff on your own (rockets, cars, robots... anything STEM related).
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Connect with a mentor in the industry.
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Have fun with it.
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Stacie’s Answer

An answer to this question can be very different depending on the actual job that is being performed. For me, I worked at NASA on the Space Shuttle and Space Station program supporting manned space flight. So during my day, I would go to meetings (all engineers end up spending a lot of time in meetings), then I would do various work on my computer. Sometimes I would be writing documents that the astronauts would use to train with when they are in space, sometimes I would write reports on assessments that I performed, and sometime would be spent answering emails. Some days I would train the astronauts on what they would be doing in space, sometimes I would be reviewing drawings and schematics of hardware that the astronauts would interface with. Some engineers spend their days creating those engineering drawings and schematics. I would also give presentations to NASA officials. So depending on the job, an engineer can be doing lots of different things. Some do hardware testing and designing. Regardless of what the project they are working on, there is also a lot of documentation that needs to be written.

Hope that helps! Feel free to let me know if you have other questions.


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Mahima’s Answer

Hello, I am Mahima Gupta, currently pursuing Aerospace Engineering from India what I think the life of an aerospace engineer is whatever you make it. Aerospace engineering is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none field. In undergrad, you are (or should be) taught the fundamentals for all subsystems necessary for aircraft, spacecraft, rockets, and rotocraft. Ideally, you are also taught (from a very high level) some aspects of design, manufacturing, and testing. Aerospace engineers can make themselves useful in any part of the engineering process:
Design
Analysis
Integration
Test
Deployment
Maintenance

They can also be useful in the any of the major analysis areas (provided that they work hard to catch up to their pure-focused peers):
Mechanical and structural design
Dynamics
Programming
Electronics

Aerospace engineers are typically well-suited to project engineering or systems engineering roles. Roles where they can use their system-level knowledge to make decisions and trades, as well as ensure that all systems have been properly tested before shipping.
They can also do well in the business sector, since they will have the math and numbers to back up any decisions that need to be made. But the trick is being charismatic enough to sell.
With any generalized area of study, you will need to spend time to make yourself competitive in the area that interests you the most. Aerospace engineering can give you the basics, but it is up to you to be dope.

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John’s Answer

Hi Aishwarya,
I have switched to aircraft/aerospace halfway to my engineering career and found it a most rewarding career move. As in any career the hardest part (after getting a degree or skill) is "placing your foot inside the door". If you already have an idea on where your strength lies (ie system, manufacturing, electronics/electrical, design, analysis, etc.) you can target a starting position that may lead to those disciplines. If not, do not be afraid to take any entry level position or internship as long as that company offers those disciplines, then work yourself up towards learning more, who knows you might end up liking another set of skills/discipline while in there. Work like a sponge and be open to mentoring. Respectfully treat everyone as part of your team, each can offer you valuable information. There will be challenges and scenarios that you think you're incapable of solving, nobody knows everything. Know your team and each expertise, reach out when unsure. The aerospace industry is "exact" and precise, with very little allowances for error. You will have a rewarding career once you realize that you may not have all the answers - but you can find the answers with some help from your team.

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Robert’s Answer

It varies depending on what your focus is within the vast aviation industry. Working at an airline is primarily focused on repairs and modifications and alterations and otherwise keeping aircraft in operation and efficient. There are also plenty of opportunities to learn design and maintenance Engineering as well as engine testing and interior and fire Engineering. At a company like Boeing you will get lots of opportunities to design specific parts or pieces of the aircraft. There is also a large part of aviation devoted to supporting the "aftermarket" similar to NAPA or AutoZone for cars. These companies do everything from full/part repairs to overhaul to new part design and manufacturing. Things like FAA PMA and TSO, standard parts and commercial parts also fall into this area of the industry. Lastly there is the regulatory side with the FAA where you conduct design approval and oversight of the industry and even sepciifc companies. There are certification offices (ACOs) around the country and there are policy experts based in Washington DC devoted to avaition safety. There are also international opportunities for a select few.

This short write-up is hopefully helpful but certainly not all inclusive. Apologies to any part of the industry I did not give a full review on.

Robert recommends the following next steps:

Find a mentor at local aviation company. The FAA offices also provide outreach at various parts of the year and even work with local schools and colleges to offer STEM support of co-op / internship opportunities.
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