We have come a long way from the day we sent our first man-made satellite to Space. The satellite was named Sputnik. It was launched on October 4,1957. Since then, we have never looked back at launching satellites. We sent Satellites and men to Space and Moon. We have sent satellites to Mars, to the Sun and outside our solar system to explore new horizons. Every success is a victory to human civilization irrespective of the country which sends the satellites. And all victories and failures are owed to the scientists that manufacture these satellites and the delivery systems to send them to outer space. These scientists or engineers are known as Astronautical Engineers or Rocket Engineers or Space Scientists.
Today we are going to discuss more about Astronautical Engineers and how to become one in this article.
What is Astronautical Engineering?
Astronautical Engineering or Rocket Science aerospace engineering is a subset of Aerospace engineering. It focuses on developing advanced technologies for aviation, space and airborne defense systems.
What is the Difference between Astronautical and Aeronautical Engineering
The two main branches of Aerospace engineering are Astronautical engineering and Aeronautical engineering. While Astronautical Engineering is the study of spacecraft and satellites, Aeronautical Engineering specializes in aircraft that operate within the Earth’s atmosphere.
What is an Astronautical Engineer?
Astronautical Engineers create and maintain systems and devices that help in broadcasting,communication,navigation and remote sensing.Astronautical Engineers design and develop rockets,satellites,missiles,planetary probes, space capsules and other machines designed to operate in space.They also analyze, and troubleshoot the designs of rockets and satellites to identify any problems with manufacturing processes, optimize the design process and create quality control standards while adhering to environmental regulations. Astronautical engineers innovate and create new ideas within the industry that affect the development of both space and Earth based travel. Astronautical Engineers are also called Rocket Scientists.
What do Astronautical Engineers do?
Most astronautical engineers work for Government organizations and companies contracted by the government, private contractors building spacecraft or spacecraft manufacturers. Many Astronauts have astronautical engineering backgrounds even though they are not technically astronautical engineers.
Here is the Astronautical engineers’ job description.
- They coordinate with engineering personnel who are involved in the development, testing, or modification of spacecraft and its relevant components.
- It is their duty to determine whether the proposed projects meet the defined goals.
- They set the criteria for quality control standards and design methods.
- They design and manufacture spacecraft products.
- It is their responsibility to ensure that projects meet quality standards.
- They must evaluate designs to ensure that the products meet the customers’ requirements.
- They identify and rectify the problems and solutions in the products.
- They maintain detailed documentation of equipment and performance.
How can you become an Astronautical Engineer?
You require certain skills to become an Astronautical Engineer which can be developed for career advancement and growth. Here are a few of the engineering skills that you must possess to succeed in the aeronautical engineering industry.
Since aeronautical engineers work in large teams, they require excellent communication skills for their work to stay consistent and synchronized. All the essential information must be relayed clearly and promptly to make it error free.
Aeronautical engineers must also possess excellent writing skills to be concise and must be able to document their document and process for further reference
Strong Analytical skills help aeronautical engineers to evaluate designs and help them to identify and improve aspects that may not meet performance standards.
Computer-aided design (CAD)
Aeronautical engineers must work on computers using CAD programs to develop and test designs. This skill is necessary for them.
Maths is an essential element of engineering as it allows them to create a design that functions. Astronautical engineers use calculus, trigonometry, and algebra during their work.
This skill is necessary for astronautical engineers to update their designs regularly to meet new demands and understand how to resolve issues under labor or time constraint.They must be able to find problems within design elements and plan strategies to improve those elements and reduce the risk of complication.
Astronautical engineers must have working knowledge of commercial law and standard practices to adhere to regulations and policies laid down by the government or businesses.
Aeronautical engineers must practice and master stress management as they will have to work long hours daily and under constant pressure to meet their deadline.
You must start early after 10th if you want to pursue your career in space or Astronautical engineering. You must fulfil the following criteria to pursue your career as an astronautical engineer.
The subjects required for aerospace engineering are Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PCM) in class 12th.
You must go for an astronautical engineering degree. For that you will have to search for colleges that offer astronautical engineering.
You must complete a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering. Some of the main subjects that you will learn in your bachelor’s degree are aerodynamics, space dynamics, dynamics of aerospace systems, space system designs etc. Here are some of the best colleges for astronautical engineering courses at the bachelor’s level.
- Kent State University, USA, BS Aerospace engineering
- Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, B.Sc Aerospace Engineering
- Carleton University, Canada, Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering
- Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, USA, BS in Aerospace Engineering
- University of Southampton
- Swansea University, UK, Bachelor of space engineering
- Lewis University, US, BS Aviation, and Aerospace Technology.
You can go for a master’s and PH.D. degree in fields like geophysics, geo-informatics, instrumentation, applied mathematics, etc. For an MSc in aerospace engineering, you must focus on a specialized degree. Many institutions offer five-year programs that offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Here are some of the top astronautical engineering colleges that offer master courses in astronautical engineering.
- Technical University of Berlin, Germany
- Wright State University, USA
- Technical University of Denmark, Denmark \
- IPSA, France
- The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Russia
- KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
- University of Limerick, Ireland
- Beijing Institute of Technology, China
- University of New south Wales, Australia
After completing a master’s degree, you can either become an astronautical engineer by applying for positions with the organizations of your choice or you can pursue research in the field by joining a Doctorate program (PH. D,) in aerospace engineering and contribute to the field. Below are some of the best universities in astronautical engineering for PhD are given below.
- University of Manchester, U.K.
- Kyushu University, Japan
- Auburn University, USA
- University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
- Politecnico Di Milano, Italy
How can you become Astronautical Engineer in NASA
NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the US space agency that is responsible for civilian space programs, aeronautics, and space research. It is the premier space research organization in the world and is an inspiration to every space scientist or rocket engineer to be part of this organization. However, there are some eligibility requirements that must be fulfilled to become a NASA aerospace engineer.
Firstly, you must be a US citizen. Secondly, you must have a degree in STEM courses with two years of professional experience in related fields. Only your application is reviewed by NASA’s Astronaut Selection Board. If you are selected then you are called into small groups for interviews at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Based on the interviews, final applicants are selected.
In case you are a non-US citizen you can work in NASA’s International Space Partner.
- Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB)
- Italian Space Agency
- Brazilian Space Agency
- Canadian Space Agency
- German Aerospace centre (DLR)
- European Space Agency
- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
- Russian Federal Space Agency
Here are a few of the colleges where you can pursue your astronautical engineering degree to get into NASA.
- California Institute of Technology, US
- Stanford University, US
- University of Cambridge, UK
- Harvard University, US
- University of Oxford, UK
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
- Princeton University, US
- ETH Zurich, Switzerland
- University of California, US
- Georgia Institute of Technology, US
How to become an Astronautical Engineer in ISRO
ISRO or Indian Space Research Organization is the Indian space agency and is one of the premier space research organizations in the world. ISRO is one of the top space agencies in the world that can deploy cryogenic engineers,launch extraterrestrial missions, and artificial satellites. Recently it successfully launched a land rover on the moon and has also sent its satellite to the Sun.
To become an astronautical engineer in ISRO you must have the following educational qualifications.
- Individuals must pass BE/BTech or equivalent degree in first class from an astronautical school with an aggregate minimum of 65% marks or CGPA of 6.84 out of 10.
- Individuals who are awaiting results of their seventh and eighth semesters can also apply given their aggregate marks in the remaining semesters is 65% and above or CGPA/CPI is 6.84 and above.
- Individuals who have passed or a pursuing ME/MTech are eligible given that they have cleared their BE/BTech in first class with a minimum of 65% aggregate.
- Further education like a PhD or equivalent in Physics or Mathematics is beneficial for carrying independent research in the field of Rocket science.
To become a Rocket scientist in India you must complete your degree in Aerospace engineering or Astronautical engineering from one of these colleges given below.
- Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
- Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
- Manipal Institute of Technology
- Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Kerala
- Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital
- Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai
- International Institute for Aerospace Engineering and Management, Jain University Bengaluru
- Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune
- National Centre for Radio Astronomy, Pune
- Centre for Earth and Space Sciences, (University of Hyderabad)
- Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
- Radio Astronomy Center, Ooty
- Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru
- Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science
What is the Scope of an Astronautical Engineer?
In India there are many astronautical engineering companies where you can pursue your career. Here is the list of companies working in the sector of space technology, directly or indirectly. Directly means making rockets, spacecrafts, launchers, satellites etc. Whereas indirectly means developing supporting systems and tools for the above things. Here is the list of the companies that offer astronautical engineering jobs.
- ISRO- Launch vehicles, Rocket engines
- Spacecraft Technology Rocket boosters
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) — Transport aircraft, Fighter aircraft, Helicopters, Crew capsule
- Antrix Corporation – Satellite systems, Launch vehicles, Technology, and consultancy
- New Space India Limited – Satellite systems, Launch vehicles, Technology, and consultancy.
- Godrej Aerospace—Rocket engines
- Spacecraft thrusters, Larsen & Toubro – Rocket booster
- Spacecraft, Space infrastructure
- Aginkul Cosmos – Launch vehicles
- Bellatrix vehicles, Dhruva Space- satellites.
- Pixxel- Earth imaging satellites
- Skyroot Aerospace- Launch Vehicles
- Manastu Space- Satellites and spacecraft components
What is the Astronautical Engineering salary?
NASA aerospace engineer’s average salary is $122,270 per year as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. NASA is the major employer of Aerospace engineers in the world and employs engineers in 20 different categories.
In India, the salary of an Astronautical engineer varies for different grades. The aspirants who get the job in ISRO receive a monthly payment of at least INR 15,600 – 391,00 per month or Rs 800,000 per year for the posts of senior scientists and engineers.
The aerospace industry is growing at the rate of 3% per annum.
There are different fields of science in ISRO where the scientists and engineers work that handle research, development, application and execution of different projects and missions, such as launch of satellites or planet observation.
- Space and Technology
- Computer science
- Refrigeration and air conditioning
Job Profiles of Aerospace engineer
Graduates in aerospace engineering have many career options to choose from the list given below.
You can work as a mechanical engineer in the field of aviation and aircraft once you have completed your engineering in Aerospace. You can improve or make various components of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles to operate them more effectively.
Aerospace Technicians install, maintain, test and fix machinery that is in use or being developed. and research teams Airlines, aerospace, and aviation industries and research these technicians.
Aircraft and spacecraft designing that are safer and more effective is a coveted career choice among aerospace engineers. Their demand has increased due to a rise in commercial air travel and the advent of private space trips.
Inspection managers help the finished product pass inspection by noting inconsistencies and advising motivations. They examine test findings, weigh goods, and keep track of information regarding production standards.Thus they ensure that all systems, equipment, and products adhere to national and international standards.
Mission specialists assist with data collection, experimentation and other vital tasks during space missions.They are required to install or use a piece of equipment throughout the mission.
Before any spaceship, aeroplane or missile can be manufactured, drawings and specification documents must be created. These intricate and thorough texts depict the subject topics from all angles and are created by the Drafters.
The operation of launch and control facilities for aircraft and spacecraft are handled by the aviation managers.They manage equipment maintenance, track incident reports, arrange inspections, hire team managers and contractors, establish policy plans, and prepare timetables.
Although astronautical space engineering in India is still in its infancy stage despite the success and achievements of I.S.R.O,. India is experiencing an accelerated expansion in the astronautical industry. Career opportunities for aerospace engineers are endless due to their demand in both domestic and overseas markets.