5 Key Differences Between Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2020)

Aeronautical engineering and astronautics engineering are the two branches that are derived from aerospace engineering.

Aeronautics and astronautics have a lot of similarities and contrasts.

Aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering are the two courses that are opted by the people who love to design and develop flying vehicles.

Astronautics is opted by people who like to make space exploration vehicles and aeronautics is the study to design and develop atmospheric flying vehicles.

Aeronautics and astronautics are based on the same underlying principles of mechanical engineering, physics, and mathematics.

In a four year course in aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering, the subjects studying in the first two years are almost the same.

Engineering Physics, Engineering Mathematics, Engineering Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Heat, and Mass Transfer are some of the common subjects between aeronautics and astronautics engineering.

Some of the core mechanical courses like Mechanics of Machines, Production Technology, Strength of materials are also coming in aeronautics and astronautics engineering.

The specialized subjects or the core subjects like aerodynamics, aircraft propulsion, rocket propulsion makes the astronautics and aeronautics engineering different and they remain the underlying principles of each discipline.

#1 DIfference in Structures

One of the key differences between aeronautics and astronautics engineering is that aeronautical engineering deals with aircraft and astronautical engineering deal with the design and development of space vehicles.

An aircraft or any atmospheric flying vehicles fly by attaining support from the air in the atmosphere. airplanes, helicopters, airships, gliders, paramotors, and hot air balloons are examples for aircraft.
The upward force attained by the aircraft is called the lift. The lift is achieved by countering the force of gravity by aerodynamics design.

Spacecraft do not require this aerodynamic design because the lift and thrust of spacecraft do not depend on air or atmosphere.

#2 Difference in the Propulsion system

Propulsion is the study of engines, it is applicable for both aeronautics and astronautics engineering, but the method of achieving propulsion may be different.

Engines are the heart of any vehicle. aircraft and space crafts engines are the devices that produce the forward-moving fore thrust.

In aeronautics, the propulsion system is mainly air-breathing engines. In an air-breathing engine, the fuel is burned in the presence of atmospheric oxygen.

Spacecrafts are the vehicles that are designed to work in space where no atmospheric oxygen is available, so in spacecraft non-airbreathing engines are used. In non-airbreathing engines, the oxidizer will be carried along with the fuel.

#3 Where Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineers Work

Aeronautics and astronautics engineering are the branches that offer bright career opportunities.

The career opportunities of aeronautical engineers are with aircraft and defense companies. There are many aeronautics companies in both the private sector and the public sector.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited are some of the public sector aeronautical companies.

Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, General Electric, and Raytheon are some of the famous private sector aeronautics companies. These companies are mainly in the civil aviation and defense field.

Astronautical engineers are professionals who can work in space research organizations and private aerospace companies.

Indian Space Research Organisation, NASA, European Space Agency, JAXA, and Roscosmos are some of the leading space research organizations in the world.

The above organizations are government-funded organizations. Back in the days, the opportunities of astronautical engineers are limited in these organizations.

Recent government interventions of government in the space sector encouraged private space research.

There are many new-generation space research companies are emerged and opportunities of astronautical engineers raised.

SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Bigelow Aerospace, and Sierra Nevada Corporation are some of the leading private space research companies

#4 Salary of Aeronautical and astronautics engineering

Aeronautical and astronautical engineers are highly paid professionals. Their salary will be based on the skill and experience they have.

In India, the salary of aerospace engineers is compactly less than abroad.

There is no huge difference in the salary of aeronautical engineers and astronautical engineers but astronautical engineers may get more salary than aeronautical engineers.

#5 Jobs available in Aeronautics and Astronautics engineering

The job titles available for astronautics engineers and aeronautics engineers may not have a very large difference. But the problems they are dealing with will be different.

Design engineer, Maintenance engineer, Systems Engineer, Materials Engineer, and Mechanical engineer are some of the jobs available for aeronautics and astronautics engineers.