What is Aerospace Engineering?
Aerospace engineers use scientific principles as well as engineering concepts and practices to design, build, test and operate aerospace, aviation and aeronautical systems and vehicles. They are involved with the design, development and production of vehicles for flight both in and beyond the atmosphere. Aerospace engineers apply their knowledge of aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, dynamics, control and performance to a wide variety of challenges encountered.
478 undergraduate and 51 graduate students enrolled in fall 2017
16 full-time faculty members
Auburn’s aerospace curriculum was established in 1942 in part through a decision by the Wright brothers to start a winter flying school near Montgomery
Auburn Engineering’s contribution to the nation’s space program has been cited as one of its most credible efforts, including two astronauts from the aerospace department: T.K. Mattingly ’58 and Jim Voss ’72
In 2009, Mattingly presented the college with his NASA Ambassador of Exploration Award — a moon rock he brought back from one of his expeditions — which is on display in the Dean’s Office
Walt Woltosz ’69 and Gary Abercrombie ’70 developed the space shuttle’s rollover maneuver 10 years before the first launch
Auburn Engineering’s Additive Manufacturing program is working in partnership with the Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville
Life after Graduation
Aerospace engineering graduates pursue careers in research and design, as well as in government and academia. With expertise in aerodynamics, flight dynamics, propulsion, structures and structural dynamics, Auburn aerospace engineers have been closely connected to many of history’s greatest flights and the machines that carried them. Auburn’s aerospace engineering alumni include Gerald Smith ’61 and Robert Champion ’86, who, among others, contributed to the space shuttle program’s design, maneuverability and safety. Charles E. “Buddy” Davis ’59, for whom the department’s Davis Hall is named, made groundbreaking developments with the Thor rocket, Harpoon missile and KC-10 aircraft aerial refueling platform, which played a vital role in the evolution of U.S. defense systems. Lorenda Ward ’90 and ’92 is a senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, where she investigates aviation crashes and incidents around the world. Wendell Mead ’63 and ’66 is a pioneer in the field of ballistic. Nelda Lee ’69 is a pioneer of women in aviation and aerospace who created a scholarship in aerospace engineering.