What Does An Aerospace Engineer Do?

A diverse aerospace engineer in front of a wind tunnel.

Are you fascinated by aircraft, dream about spacecraft, or intrigued by the world of aerospace engineering? Did you know that aerospace engineers are responsible for creating and improving vehicles used in air and space travel?

You may be wondering exactly what an aerospace engineer does to make flight possible.

Aerospace engineers design and create airplanes, spacecraft, and missiles. They use math and science to develop individual parts and systems of parts, and then fully test them to ensure safety. This is important because the parts must work well and be highly reliable in flight.

Let’s dive deeper into this exciting realm – your journey into the sky starts here!

Key Takeaways

  • Aerospace engineers design and develop aircraft and spacecraft for air and space travel.
  • They use math, physics, and computer – aided design software to create safe and efficient designs.
  • Aerospace engineers collaborate with teams, conduct tests, and work closely with clients to bring their designs to life.

What is Aerospace Engineering?

Astronaut in zero gravity with Earth in background, various appearances and outfits.

Aerospace engineering involves designing, developing, testing, and producing aircraft and spacecraft to ensure safety, performance, and efficiency.

Designing, developing, testing, and producing aircraft and spacecraft

Being an aerospace engineer is a cool job. You get to work on things that fly high in the sky or float in space. Here’s what you would do:

  1. You make planes, rockets, and satellites. Your designs start as ideas, then become real – life flying machines.
  2. To create these amazing machines, you use what you know about physics and how materials work together.
  3. Sometimes your designs don’t work right away. That’s okay! You run tests to find problems and fix them.
  4. Have you ever seen a rocket launch on TV? Before that happens, a team of people need to check if it will fly safely. If you’re an aerospace engineer, this could be part of your job!
  5. You don’t work alone though. You join forces with other smart people like scientists or other engineers to make your projects come alive.
  6. After the designing and testing phase is over, it’s time to build! As an aerospace engineer, you keep an eye on the process to make sure everything goes as planned.
  7. Lastly, always keep learning! New discoveries are made all the time in science and technology so it’s important to stay up-to-date.

Ensuring safety, performance, and efficiency

Aerospace engineers put safety first. They use principles of physics and materials science to make aircraft and spacecraft safe. Missiles, satellites, and any other space or air vehicle must meet strict safety rules.

That’s the job of an aerospace engineer too!

Also, they make sure everything works well and does not waste fuel. Engineers test their designs under many different conditions to check for the best performance. They might even change a design so it can work better or save more energy! Good performance saves time and money, but most importantly keeps everyone safe when flying in air or space vehicles designed by aerospace engineers.

Duties of an Aerospace Engineer

An aerospace engineer examines aircraft components in a high-tech laboratory.

An aerospace engineer designs and analyzes aircraft components, conducts tests and simulations, and collaborates with teams and clients.

Designing and analyzing aircraft components

The engineers look at how the pieces hold up in different conditions, like hot or cold weather. It’s part of their job to make sure that each piece fits perfectly with all other pieces on a plane, kind of like a big puzzle! To do this right, they often have to work together with other people who know about planes too.

Conducting tests and simulations

Aerospace engineers conduct tests and simulations to make sure their designs are safe and efficient. They use advanced computer programs to simulate how their aircraft or spacecraft will perform in different conditions. They also conduct real-life tests on prototypes to gather data and analyze the results. These tests help them identify any potential problems and find ways to improve the design. Aerospace engineers work closely with other team members to coordinate these tests and simulations, ensuring that everything is done accurately and efficiently.

Collaborating with teams and clients

Aerospace engineers work closely with other team members and clients to bring their designs to life. They collaborate with engineers, scientists, and technicians from various disciplines to ensure that the aircraft or spacecraft meets all requirements.

This collaboration helps them understand the needs and expectations of clients or stakeholders. By working together, they can incorporate these requirements into the design process and create a final product that satisfies everyone involved.

During the collaboration process, aerospace engineers also communicate important information about the project progress, challenges faced, and potential solutions. This effective communication helps keep everyone on the same page and ensures smooth workflow.

Working as part of a team allows aerospace engineers to tap into diverse expertise and ideas, enhancing innovation in their projects.

In addition to collaborating within their own teams, aerospace engineers may also work closely with external partners or clients. These collaborations are essential for creating customized aircraft or spacecraft that meet specific needs.

By actively involving clients in discussions and decision-making processes, aerospace engineers can align their designs with client expectations.

Skills and Qualifications

To excel as an aerospace engineer, you must possess a strong foundation of knowledge in mathematics and physics, along with proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software. Additionally, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are crucial for designing and analyzing aircraft components, while effective communication and teamwork abilities are essential for collaborating with teams and clients.

Strong knowledge of mathematics and physics

To be an aerospace engineer, it’s important to have a strong understanding of mathematics and physics. These subjects are the building blocks for everything you’ll do in this field.

You’ll use math to analyze data, calculate forces, and solve complex problems. Physics will help you understand how objects move through air or space, and how different forces affect them.

So if you enjoy solving equations and exploring the laws of motion, having a solid foundation in mathematics and physics will set you up for success as an aerospace engineer.

Proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software

To be an aerospace engineer, it’s important to have proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software. CAD software is a powerful tool that allows engineers to create detailed designs and models of aircraft and spacecraft.

With CAD software, aerospace engineers can visualize their ideas, test different configurations, and make necessary adjustments before building physical prototypes. It helps them save time, reduce costs, and improve the overall efficiency of the design process.

By using CAD software effectively, aerospace engineers can bring their creative concepts to life and ensure that their designs meet safety standards and performance requirements.

Problem-solving and critical thinking skills

Aerospace engineers need to have strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They use these skills to analyze complex challenges and come up with innovative solutions. For example, when designing aircraft components, they carefully consider factors like safety, performance, and efficiency.

They use their problem-solving skills to overcome any obstacles that may arise during the design process. Aerospace engineers also conduct tests and simulations to evaluate the performance of their designs.

Critical thinking is essential in interpreting the test results and making necessary improvements. Overall, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are crucial for aerospace engineers to create safe and efficient aircraft and spacecraft.

Effective communication and teamwork

Aerospace engineers need to have good communication skills and work well with others. They often collaborate with different teams and clients to bring their designs to life. By effectively communicating their ideas and listening to others, they can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.

Teamwork is also important because aerospace engineering projects are often complex and require input from various experts. By working together, engineers can combine their skills and knowledge to create innovative solutions.

Career Opportunities in Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers have a range of career opportunities, including working in aerospace companies, government agencies like NASA and FAA, research and development organizations, consulting firms, and academic institutions.

Working in aerospace companies

Aerospace engineers have many career opportunities in aerospace companies. These companies focus on designing and developing aircraft, spacecraft, and other flying vehicles. As an aerospace engineer, you could work on exciting projects like creating prototypes of new aircraft or improving the performance of existing ones.

You would collaborate with teams of engineers, scientists, and technicians to bring your designs to life. Your work could have a big impact on industries like defense, transportation, communication, and scientific research.

Plus, the salary for aerospace engineers is usually quite good! So if you love airplanes and spaceships, working in an aerospace company could be a dream come true for you!

Government agencies (NASA, FAA)

Government agencies like NASA and the FAA play a crucial role in the field of aerospace engineering. NASA, which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is responsible for space exploration and research.

They work on projects like designing spacecraft, launching satellites, and even sending astronauts to space. The FAA, or Federal Aviation Administration, focuses on aircraft safety and regulations.

They ensure that any new aircraft designs meet strict standards before they can be used for commercial flights. Both of these agencies provide opportunities for aerospace engineers to contribute to exciting projects and make significant advancements in aviation and space technology.

Research and development organizations

Research and development organizations play a crucial role in aerospace engineering. These organizations are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of aviation and space exploration by conducting innovative research and developing new technologies.

They work on projects that aim to improve aircraft performance, safety, and efficiency. Aerospace engineers in these organizations collaborate with scientists, technicians, and other engineers to explore new ideas and design cutting-edge solutions.

They also stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field to continuously enhance their knowledge and skills. The work done by research and development organizations has a significant impact on various industries, including defense, transportation, communication, and scientific research.

Consulting firms

Aerospace engineers can also work for consulting firms. These firms offer specialized services and expertise to clients in the aerospace industry. As an aerospace engineer in a consulting firm, you may be involved in various projects such as aircraft design evaluations, safety assessments, or performance optimizations.

You will work closely with clients to understand their needs and provide them with expert advice and solutions. Consulting firms give aerospace engineers the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a wide range of projects and collaborate with different companies in the industry.

Academic institutions

Academic institutions play a crucial role in the field of aerospace engineering. These institutions, such as universities and colleges, offer specialized degree programs that equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for a career in this field.

Through coursework and hands-on projects, students learn about aircraft design, aerodynamics, propulsion systems, and other important concepts. They also have access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources that allow them to conduct research and experiments.

Academic institutions often collaborate with industry partners to provide internships or co-op opportunities, giving students valuable real-world experience. Graduates from these programs are well-prepared to enter the aerospace industry or pursue advanced degrees for further specialization.

Salary and job outlook for aerospace engineers

As an aerospace engineer, you can expect rewarding career opportunities with competitive salary prospects. The job outlook for this profession is also promising, with steady growth expected in the coming years.

Job TypeStarting SalaryMedian SalaryJob Growth Rate
Aerospace Engineer$70,000$117,1005% (2020-2030)
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians$50,000$70,0007% (2020-2030)
Aerospace Project Manager$89,000$130,0006% (2020-2030)
Research and Development Aerospace Engineer$80,000$105,0009% (2020-2030)

Please keep in mind that these figures are estimates, and actual salaries can vary depending on factors like experience, education, geographic location, and the specific company. Additionally, job growth rates are influenced by technological advancements, industry trends, and government spending on defense and space exploration. Your skills and qualifications as well as dedication to continuous learning can significantly impact your career trajectory in aerospace engineering.


In conclusion, aerospace engineers design and develop aircraft and spacecraft. They ensure their creations are safe, efficient, and perform well. Aerospace engineers collaborate with teams, conduct tests, and use their knowledge of math and physics to create amazing vehicles that push the boundaries of flight.


1. What is the job of an aerospace engineer?

An aerospace engineer designs and develops aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.

2. What skills are required to become an aerospace engineer?

To become an aerospace engineer, you need strong math and science skills, as well as knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD) software.

3. Where do aerospace engineers work?

Aerospace engineers can work in various settings such as government agencies, defense contractors, private companies, or research institutions.

4. What are some typical responsibilities of an aerospace engineer?

Some typical responsibilities of an aerospace engineer include designing parts or systems for aircraft or spacecraft, conducting tests and simulations to ensure safety and performance, and analyzing data to improve designs.

5. How much does an aerospace engineer earn?

The salary of an aerospace engineer can vary depending on factors like experience level and location but generally falls within a range of $80k to $120k per year.

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