What is Aerospace Engineering?

We all look up at the sky when something is buzzing over us. But have you ever wanted to make an aircraft yourself, and learn the science and engineering involved behind it? Enter the world of aerospace engineering, where innovation propels us into the boundless expanse of the universe!

What is Aerospace Engineering?

Aerospace engineering is a subset of engineering that focuses on designing, developing, and manufacturing aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. It is divided into two branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aeronautical engineering is concerned with aircraft that fly within the Earth’s atmosphere. In contrast, astronautical engineering concerns spacecraft that travel beyond our planet.

Aerospace engineers use their knowledge of physics, mathematics, and engineering principles to create safe and efficient vehicles that can fly or travel through space. Aerospace engineering is a challenging but rewarding field. It offers the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies and to make a real difference in the world.


Aerospace engineers contribute to the design and continuous improvement of aircraft in commercial aviation, making air travel safer, more efficient, and more comfortable for passengers. They design spacecraft and instruments that expand our understanding of the universe and enable scientific discoveries in space exploration. Aerospace engineers also contribute significantly to national defense and security by developing advanced military aircraft, missiles, and defense systems. Satellites designed by aerospace engineers also aid in global communication, weather monitoring, navigation systems, and scientific research.

Aerospace Engineering in IIT Madras

Established in 1969 and known to be one of the best in the country, the department has been actively involved in activities supporting our national ambitions in the field of Aerospace Engineering. Ongoing collaboration with internationally renowned R&D agencies has led to enriched research activities, which you can see here and here.

The Department is also known for its prestigious faculty members from ISRO, including Dr VR Lalithambika and Lazar T Chitilappilly. Lalithambika was the first director of the Directorate of ISRO’s Human Space Programme, proving the fact that students have the opportunity to learn from some of the foremost experts in their respective fields.

The courses involve fundamentals essential for a career involving design, analysis, construction, testing and operation of airplanes, helicopters, rockets, and spacecraft. The admission is through the JEE Advanced Examination.

Aerodynamics Flight Dynamics
Gas Dynamics Propulsion
Aerospace Structural Mechanics Vibrations

The course also involves several Labs with state-of-the-art equipment and testing facilities, such as the Aero Lab, Propulsion Lab, Low-speed Lab, etc. Students also have flexibility in terms of professional and free electives to expand their area of understanding. Research opportunities are many, involving governmental organizations such as the DRDO.

Embarking on the journey of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Madras is a launch into a realm of endless possibilities and cosmic exploration. As a student in the best place to build, you are not merely learning about aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles - you are becoming a pioneer in the realm of flight and space. Welcome to a world where your passion for the skies meets limitless opportunities and a boundless universe of knowledge and discovery.

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