Job Descriptions, Definitions Roles, Responsibility: Aerospace Engineers

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Aerospace engineers create extraordinary machines, from airplanes that weigh over a half a million pounds to spacecraft that travel over 17,000 miles an hour. They design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles and supervise the manufacture of these products. Aerospace engineers who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers, and those working specifically with spacecraft are astronautical engineers.

Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration, often specializing in areas such as structural design, guidance, navigation and control, instrumentation and communication, or production methods. They often use computer-aided design (CAD) software, robotics, and lasers and advanced electronic optics. They also may specialize in a particular type of aerospace product, such as commercial transports, military fighter jets, helicopters, spacecraft, or missiles and rockets. Aerospace engineers may be experts in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, or guidance and control systems.

Aerospace engineers typically are employed in the aerospace product and parts industry, although their skills are becoming increasingly valuable in other fields. For example, in the motor vehicles manufacturing industry, aerospace engineers design vehicles that have lower air resistance and, thus, increased fuel efficiency.

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