Astronautical Engineering constitutes everything outside of the Earth’s atmosphere where as Aerospace Engineering is more involved with things within the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the disciplines are still closely linked in industry and coursework. Astronautical Engineering really is Rocket Science!
In my first few courses, I dealt with spacecraft maneuvers, proper materials, computer coding, and even space environments. It is quite interesting to learn about space from an academic stand point and debunk some of the myths people may have about outer space. Most of what people “learn” is attributed to movies, TV shows, or what they have heard. The environment in Outer Space is much more complex and is actually one of the harshest environments known to man. And yet, I have learned concepts that I was not previously accustomed to, such as using a planet’s gravity to increase the change in velocity of a spacecraft or the fact that the peak wavelength emission of the Sun lies firmly within the green visible light spectrum! The Sun itself is not on fire, but is a constant glow of nuclear fusion, that the solar winds spewing from the Sun towards the Earth are deflected by the Earth’s magnetic field. Particles that enter Earth’s ionosphere are what we know as the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis (More on Northern Lights Phenom)!
Many of my friends look to work for SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, or another Aerospace company with most securing internships throughout their academic career. I also have an interest in Space Exploration and a revision to the statement that “Space is the next frontier.” Space is today’s frontier. With rapid advancement in technology, space-ready hardware is becoming more available and opening up new possibilities for space travel. Some people may disregard this completely because they cannot fathom the extent of the solar system and the galaxy. It really is another, if not many worlds different than ours. Space exploration or just the manipulation of the resources in our solar system and galaxy are just the tip of the iceberg. This is what we are learning, and that is what we hope to accomplish in our future.