In-Depth Jobs

Volume-39, 23-29 December, 2017

Aerospace Engineering
Sky is the Limit

Usha Albuquerque and Nidhi Prasad

Have you ever seen big spacecrafts & rockets and imagined how they have been constructed?, Are you fascinated about flying into Space? Do you love learning science and working on all kinds of innovation ?
Then, Aerospace Engineering might be the right field for you.
Aerospace engineering deals with designing and building machines that fly.It is the most demanding and interesting career option, and deals with the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft and related systems like missiles, rocket-propulsion systems, space-shuttles etc. Aerospace engineers may be required to work on the designing of complete aircraft or may specialise in areas such as missile guidance systems, propulsion, and guidance control systems. The design and manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft for commercial or military use is a highly technical field and requires highly trained engineers, scientists and technicians specialising in areas such as aerospace, aeronautics, electronics, computer science, robotics, meteorology, chemistry and physics.
Aerospace engineering is still in its nascent stage in India, but its growth and development in the west has drawn many talented engineers like Kalpana Chawla. Around 30-40% of the technicians and aerospace engineers working at NASA are from India.
What is aerospace engineering?
Aerospace is a broad term. Aerospace Engineering is categorized into two branches - Aeronautical Engineering and Astronautical Engineering. Aeronautical Engineering specializes in aircrafts, missiles and helicopters. On the contrary, Astronautical Engineering includes space shuttles, rockets and space station. Aerospace Engineers work not only in the manufacturing of aircrafts but also in the design and connectivity of these aircrafts.
One of the most challenging areas of engineering, Aerospace Engineering deals with the development of new technology in the field of aviation, space and defence systems. Aerospace Engineering involves design and manufacturing of hi-tech systems; hence the engineer requires possessing manual, technical and mechanical ability.
The field includes many disciplines like aerodynamics, propulsion, avionics, material science, structural analysis and manufacturing.
What does aerospace engineer do?
The work profile or duties of an Aerospace Engineer typically involves research, design, construction and maintenance of aircrafts and spacecrafts. An Aerospace Engineer is expected to undertake following duties:
*Develop, maintain and test  the performance of civil and military aircraft, missiles, Satellites and space vehicles to ensure they  meet the customer requirements.
*Modify design to build in some new functions and improve safety features.
*Perform ground and flight-testing programmes on prototypes.
*Estimate feasibility, productibility, cost, and production time of an aerospace vehicle.
*Write and review technical reports.
One who specializes in Aerospace engineering and possesses a bachelor's,  or Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering is titled as an "Aerospace Engineer".
Aerospace engineering is offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels awarding B.Tech and M.Tech degrees. For admission to a bachelor's degree, the candidate must have passed 12th Class in Science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Admissions to programs are based on entrance examinations, the most popular being the JEE Mains and Advanced, VITEEE, SRMJEE, GATE, etc.
This discipline specializes in designing, construction, development, testing and maintenance of commercial and military aircrafts and spacecrafts. The course also focuses on new technologies in aviation, defence systems, and space exploration.
For admission in master's degree, the candidate must hold a bachelor's degree in B.E./
B. Tech.
Various courses for aerospace engineering field are listed below:
*Undergraduate courses: Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) degree of four year duration.
*Master courses: Master of Aerospace Engineering (MAE), degree of three years duration.
*Master of Science in Aeronautics & Astronautics
*M. Sc. Aerospace Engineering
*Ph D in Aerospace Engineering
Skill required for aerospace engineers
*Strong Mathematical skills
*Eye for Detail
*Psychological & Emotional strength
*Design Skills
*Computer Skills
*Logical thinking & analytical thinking
*Ability to work under pressure
Scope and employment  opportunities
As an Aerospace Engineer it is important to decide if you prefer Aeronautical Engineering (within the atmosphere) or Astronautical Engineering (outside the earth's atmosphere) as both offer employment opportunities. Both the branches have excellent job opportunities. This is as yet an emerging field in India, where jobs are mainly in the design and manufacture of aircraft with companies like Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd and National Aeronautical Ltd and public sector undertakings, or in research and development with the defence services for testing and manufacture of military aircraft, the DRDO, for missile technology and development, and with space research laboratories such as Indian Space Research Organization where the success of Mangalayan and the launching of 104 satellites from a single rocket has put India on the space research map.
However, the  aerospace industry is more advanced abroad, where there would be jobs in areas of aerospace sciences, avionics, aviation sciences, aerospace design and so on with  aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers, defence establishments, in air traffic management and at organisations such as NASA, which requires specialisation at the masters or even Ph D level.
*Job opportunities for these engineers are available in Airlines, Air Force, Corporate Research Companies, Defence Ministry, Helicopter Companies, Aviation Companies, NASA and many others.
*Increasing popularity of air travel and space exploration require expertise to design and maintain improvements. Looking at heightening growth rate, the demand for smart and creative aerospace Engineers is only going to increase in the near future.
*Some of the top recruiters are Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Defence Research and Development Laboratories (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Civil Aviation Department, Air India, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and others. These organizations usually look for a B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering , sometimes also Mechanical, Electrical, or Computer Science,  from a top college, and a GATE score (entrance exam taken after
graduation)  to be hired.
An M.Tech. or MS degree provides more technical exposure, and in turn, more opportunities in the private as well as public sector.
The Defence services, mostly the Airforce, is a popular choice for individuals wanting to join ISRO as a Vyomanaut. Vyomanauts is the name been coined for the Indian astronauts who go into space, as 'Astronaut' are those who go into space in the US, via NASA, and Cosmonaut is for those who go to space via Russian space agency.
Aeronautical Engineering -
Great strides have been made in Aeronautics allowing more diversity and options in employment.
1. Airlines
2. Air Force
3. Government Research
4. Corporate Research
5. Helicopter Companies
6. Fixed Wing Aircraft
7. Defence Ministry
8. Missiles
9. Airships
10. Aviation Companies
Astronautical Engineering -
Space technology is in a vigorous launch mode in India, and so there is much opportunity in fields of research and discovery. Astronautical Engineers are often preferred for traveling into space.
1. Research
2. Satellites
3. Space Shuttles
4. Spacecrafts
5. Astronaut
Aerospace Engineers are generally appointed as
*Thermal Design Engineers
*Mechanical Design Engineers
*Aerospace Technologist
*Aircraft Production Manager
*Assistant Technical Officers
*Aerospace Design Checker
*Graduate Engineer Trainees
List of some reputed recruiters are:
There are many opportunities for highly qualified applicants, particularly those who have kept abreast of the latest developments in technology. In India, some of the companies which provide jobs in the field of aerospace engineering  are as follows:
*Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
*Defence Research and Development Laboratories (DRDO)
*Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
*Civil Aviation Department
*Air India
*Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
*Tata Advanved Systems
*Mahindra Aerospace
*Taneja Aerospace
*Samtel Avionics
*Pawan Hans Helicopter
*Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA)
*Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE)
*National Aerospace
Laboratories (NAL)
List of institutions Where to study?
Undergraduate institutes
*IIST: Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvanthapuram. IIST offers regular engineering undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programmes with focus on space science, technology and applications.
B Tech in aerospace engineering, B Tech in Avionics. Also offers B Tech - MS/
M Tech integrated course.
*Indian Institute of Technology, Madras - B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
*Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay - B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
*Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur - B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
*Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur - B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
*PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh - B.Tech. in Aeronautical Engineering
Postgraduate institutes
*Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - M.E. in Aerospace/ M.Sc. (Engg) in Aerospace
*Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay - M.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
*Indian Institute of Technology, Madras - MS/M.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
*Madras Institute of Technology, Madras - M.E. Aeronautical Engineering/ M.E. Aerospace Technology
*Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram - M.Tech. in Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics
*Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur - M.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
(Usha Albuquerque is Director & Nidhi Prasad is Senior Counseling Psychologist at Careers Smart Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi. e-mail :
Views expressed are personal.
Image: Courtesy Google