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Students interested in aerospace engineering can pursue online graduate degrees or participate in individual classes to enrich their understanding of a particular aerospace subject. Degrees offered include the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) and the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (MSAE) degrees, which may or may not require a thesis.
Because aerospace engineers research, design and oversee the production of complex machines, such as commercial and military airplanes, spacecraft and missile systems, they often find employment with governmental agencies or defense contractors.
Online Aerospace Engineering Courses
The following course descriptions provide an overview of the aerospace engineering courses commonly offered online.
- Aerospace Mechanics Course: This course discusses the fundamental laws of mass, momentum and energy and how these laws relate to the deformation and strain placed on aircrafts. Students learn about linear and nonlinear aircraft and spacecraft control issues. Principles of equilibrium, geometric compatibility and composite material behaviors are also covered.
- Aerospace Mathematics Course: Students in this course explore mathematical models for designing and optimizing the aerodynamic and structural stiffness of aircraft wings. These mathematic models and variations are used to reduce instability and create steady flight. Online participants also study static aeroelasticity and structural instability, the principal causes for loss of wing lift.
- Aerospace Environments Course: The various environments that spacecrafts pass through and the dangers associated with each are central to this course. Topics include the consequences of working in unfiltered sunlight and solar wind, the hazards of orbital debris, and the shielding dangers of re-entry through the upper atmosphere.
- Air and Space Craft Design Course: This introductory course explores the design and cost aspects of reusable high-speed aircraft and space vehicles. Online students will be expected to design a craft and write a cost analysis proposal to accompany the design. Candidates study historical designs and design proofing methods to help them realize their projects.
- Space Habitat Course: This class emphasizes the factors affecting living organisms in weak gravity environments and examines spacecraft design for human occupancy. Students learn the objectives and challenges associated with human space exploration and the physiological conditions that must be considered when designing life support systems for space travel.
- Space Flight Course: Vehicular test systems and flight simulations are central to this introductory space flight course. Topics include celestial mechanics, transfer and rendezvous, space navigation, trajectory design and orbital determination. Students also learn about established flight test practices and the experiences of well-known designers and test pilots.
- Orbit Mechanics Course: This course explores the dynamics of orbits and trajectory design. Students are introduced to Lambert's theorem, along with the gravitational and motion integral laws of Newton and Kepler. Students also study orbital dynamics to understand their relation to spacecraft motion, maneuvers and mission design.