What is Aerospace Engineering? Comparison | Scope | Subjects

By Team Aerosmic

Modified on: 20/May/2023

Engineering has a lot of branches to offer. In this article, we’ll cover what is aerospace engineering and figure out what exactly to expect from this branch of science. 
Later on. we’ll compare Aerospace Engineering to other similar yet distinct fields of Engineering to help you make an informed decision.

What is Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering is a branch of science that deals with designing, developing, production and testing all the airborne (objects that can fly) objects.

Starting from a simple Kite to all the way Aeroplanes and Rockets. However, the field primarily focuses on solving problems related to Atmospheric and Space related flights.

Aerospace Engineering is categorized into:

  1. Aeronautical Engineering
  2. Astronautical Engineering

So, you see? You can call Aerospace Engineering the parent of all relative fields.

Did you know? “Mechanical Engineering is considered as the Mother of all Engineering?”

Let’s see, what these individual fields have to offer along with their key study areas and pre-requisites.

1.1. Aeronautical Engineering

Firstly the Engineers focuses on the theory, technological advancement and practical knowledge about all the flights that operate within the earth’s atmosphere.

Key Study Areas:

  1. Aerodynamics
  2. Propulsion System
  3. Navigation and Control System
  4. Flight Mechanics
  5. Aircraft Structures
  6. Avionics System
  7. Fluid Dynamics
  8. Theory of Vibrations.


Aspirants should have a science background. And above all, good command in Mathematics and Physics for understanding complex theories and mathematical models.

1.2. Astronautical Engineering

Here the Engineers focuses on the theory, technological advancement and practical knowledge about all the flights operating outside the earth’s atmosphere.
In conclusion, Engineers are mainly involved in the design/manufacture/testing of satellites, rockets, space capsules, inter-planetary probes.

Key Study Areas:

While the subjects are similar to that of Aeronautical Engineering. However, it is the application part where it mainly makes the difference. 
In addition to these subject’s rest, all is similar to Aeronautical subjects.

  1. Orbital Mechanics
  2. Celestial Mechanics
  3. Rocket Propulsion System


Aspirants should have a science background. And above, all good command in Mathematics and Physics for solving and understanding complex theories and mathematical model

2. Aerospace vs Aeronautical Engineering:

Aeronautical Engineering:
Aerospace Engineering:

1. Study of flights operating under Earth’s Atmosphere.

1. Study of flights operating outside of Earth’s  Atmosphere.

2. Aircraft, Helicopters, Drone tech, Missiles

2. Rockets, Space shuttle, satellites, probes

3. Scope of Aerospace Engineering?

A degree in Aerospace engineering can open up to a hundred different career options. 
Few most common Aerospace Engineering Jobs to figure out what do aerospace engineers do:

Aerospace Engineers can work as:
Aerospace Engineering Work Places:
  1. Aerodynamics Engineer
  2. Propulsion Engineer
  3. System Engineer
  4. Structural Engineer
  5. Design Engineer
  6. Quality Engineer
  7. Manufacturing and Maintenance Engineer
  8. Data Scientist
  9. Technical Writer
  1. Space research centres.
  2. Government Organizations
  3. Airlines Industry
  4. Propulsion Industry
  5. Manufacturing Companies: Airbus, Boeing, and many others.

4. FAQ's

Most frequent questions and answers

Yes, both Aerospace Engineering & Aeronautical Engineering offer a chance to become a Pilot.

Moreover, you can also undergo pilot training from any other relative field. Aerospace Engineering will surely give you an added benefit though.

Yes, Aerospace Engineers is a baseline.Furthermore a masters degree can help aspirant become astronauts and even scientists.

Not really. It is an individual’s choice that how deeper you want to dive into the field, and in addition to what your ultimate goal is.

Yes, even without the dedicated Aerospace subjects, person can work in Aerospace field. But obvious priority shall be given to the Aerospace Engineer first.

On a average scale. From a reputed college, aerospace engineers make from 20,000$ – 30,000$ yearly during start.

Not really, here’s why: you can study from a high reputed college and still end up with no suitable job.

It all comes down towards the knowledge and skill that person the has achieved.

The field has been around for a while, but recently has attracted a lot of interest among people, thanks to people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. 
Surely it is a ever-growing field of engineering.

5. Which one is the right option for you?

Now that you know the difference is of a relative margin. It is easier to understand that while Astronautical Engineering students learn about satellites, rockets & space shuttles.
Aeronautical Engineers are somewhat limited to Atmospheric related activities. This includes civil/military aircraft, drone technology, helicopters and missiles.

If you are confused about either of them. Then opting for Aerospace Engineering would be the right choice as you get the best of both worlds.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that Aerospace is itself a broad field. And you can specialize in any of the subjects that we mentioned above in key study areas. But most important it is the desire to actually learn and understand the concepts involved that make all the difference.

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