Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering concerning aircraft and spacecraft . It is often called aeronautical engineering, particularly when referring solely to aircraft, andastronautical engineering, when referring to spacecraft. Some of the elements of aerospace engineering are:
The basis of most of these elements lies in theoretical mathematics , suchas fluid dynamics for aerodynamics or the equations of motion forflight dynamics. However, there is also a large empirical component. Historically, this empirical component was derived fromtesting of scale models and prototypes, either in wind tunnels or in the free atmosphere. More recently, advances in computing have enabled the use of computational fluid dynamics to simulate the behavior of fluid, reducing time and expensespent on wind-tunnel testing.
Additionally, aerospace engineering addresses the integration of all components that constitute an aerospace vehicle(subsystems including power, communications, thermal control, life support, etc.) and its life cycle (design, temperature,pressure, radiation, velocity, life time...), leading to extraordinary challenges and solutions specific to the domain ofaerospace systems engineering.
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