Aerospace Engineering: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Would you like to design spaceships or airplanes? If so, aerospace engineering might be a great job for you! In this lesson you'll find out about the field of aerospace engineering.

It's Rocket Science!

When you're struggling to do a task, occasionally someone might say, ''It's not rocket science!'' What he or she means is that the task you're doing isn't as difficult as building rockets. Have you ever wondered who actually does plan and build rockets? Aerospace engineers do!

Aerospace engineering involves designing, building, testing, and controlling machines that fly.

Aerospace engineers work on a satellite destined for outer space.
engineers

Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering

Aerospace engineers typically work in two main areas: aeronautical and astronautical engineering. Notice that the terms ''aeronautical'' and ''astronautical'' include the word ''nautical'' (pronounced NAWT-uh-cuhl), which refers to travel in some kind of ship.

Aeronautical Engineering

Aeronautical engineers work on machines that fly inside Earth's atmosphere, including airplanes, jets, helicopters, blimps, zeppelins, and gliders. These aircraft often fly far above the ground, but don't go into ''outer space''; they're mainly used to transport people and materials on the Earth.

Astronautical Engineering

Astronautical engineering involves the design and development of machines that travel into outer space, beyond the Earth's atmosphere. These spacecraft travel to other planets or stars.

Science of Aerospace Engineering

Do you have what it takes to become an aerospace engineer? Like all other engineers, aerospace engineers need a strong background in science and mathematics. They have to give a lot of thought to the materials used in ''flying machines,'' so that they aren't too heavy, can travel at fast speeds, and are safe. They also need to decide how the machines will be shaped, controlled, and powered.

A zeppelin is a type of airship filled with gas.
zeppelin

Job Skills

All aerospace engineers need to know about aerodynamics, or the science of how air not only moves things around but also moves around those things. Without an understanding of aerodynamics, planning aircraft would be impossible. A knowledge of computer science is also important, because aerospace engineers use computers to design, develop, build, test, and control almost all aircraft. Because there are so many different things to think about when designing, building, and testing aircraft and spaceships, aerospace engineers must have the ability to communicate clearly and work cooperatively in teams.

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