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Aerospace Engineering Universities

Posted by: spacecowboy - Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:37 pm
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Aerospace Engineering Universities 
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Post Aerospace Engineering Universities   Posted on: Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:37 pm
As some of you know, I'm an Aerospace Engineering student at a 2-year community college in Central Florida, and (as not too many of you know) I've been considering going to the University of Florida for my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. I'm mostly going to focus on SSTO RLVs, and/or maybe permanent orbital stations.

So: what's the best University (Stateside or abroad) for AE?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 13, 2004 10:26 am
Imperial College, University of London is probably the best engineering uni in the world for all disciplines. Has good ties with business such as Bae.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 13, 2004 5:42 pm
i know embry riddle in daytona beach has a damn good AE program, and engineering physics as well (the more relevant space major). for undergraduate work, what you need to look at is more the research options and technology available than anything. i know ER even has some wind tunnel facilities for their undregrad designs, if they're good, but in this age of CFDs, that's nowhere near as important as it was.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 13, 2004 7:00 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
i know embry riddle in daytona beach has a damn good AE program, and engineering physics as well (the more relevant space major). for undergraduate work, what you need to look at is more the research options and technology available than anything. i know ER even has some wind tunnel facilities for their undregrad designs, if they're good, but in this age of CFDs, that's nowhere near as important as it was.


Yeah, I was hellbent on going to ERAU for a while. Then I looked up the tuition: $8k for UF, $27k for ERAU. If I could manage some serious scholarships, I'd jump at the chance. Otherwise, the #3 undergrad college in the nation's pretty decent. Ga. Tech is supposed to be pretty good, too.

Ah, if only I had the money.....

Oh, yeah, and UF has either two or three windtunnels, one of which can be used at supersonic speeds for short periods of time (think along the lines of a few hundred seconds here, folks)

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:31 am
I think Rensselaer Polytechnic up near Albany NY is one of the best aerospace universities in the US. Granted my opinion is based on an old high school friends decision to go there about 18 years ago. I do believe that is one of the leading places for laser launch research today though.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 14, 2004 6:46 pm
Taking your location into account, I will try to give you a quick run down.

I just graduated from Auburn about a year ago. It has a fairly decent Aero program, but its strengths are mostly in aerodynamics and structures. As you are looking more towards the space side, I would suggest Georgia Tech. Its one of the top programs in the country (both for undergraduate and graduate work) plus it has a fairly sizable faculty. UF doesn't offer much in the way of design (at least from checking the department site). As for space propulsion, I don't know. UCF also offers courses in Aero and have space courses.

Elsewhere, UT-Arlington and Colorado both have some of the best orbital mechanics departments in the country.

Anyways, to reiterate what TerraMrs, check out the research available to you. Thats where you will learn most (especially as an undergrad). Another good idea is to work in a lab (though sometimes you get stuck doing busy work, at least it is hands on as opposed to just book work).

Hope that helped somewhat


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 14, 2004 11:24 pm
UT-Arlington is top in orbital mechanics plus I'm only four miles away. :lol:

Kalpana Chawla, The Late, Columbia mission specialist, choose UT-Arlington. Pretty good recommendation.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 01, 2004 7:50 pm
Pendragon wrote:
As you are looking more towards the space side, I would suggest Georgia Tech. Its one of the top programs in the country (both for undergraduate and graduate work) plus it has a fairly sizable faculty.


Gonna be taking the standard tours up there this Friday. From cruising their site, it looks fairly interesting.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 4:50 am
spacecowboy wrote:
Pendragon wrote:
As you are looking more towards the space side, I would suggest Georgia Tech. Its one of the top programs in the country (both for undergraduate and graduate work) plus it has a fairly sizable faculty.


Gonna be taking the standard tours up there this Friday. From cruising their site, it looks fairly interesting.


Let us know how it goes. Have great time!

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:59 am
While we are on the subject...

Can anyone tell me the difference between AE and Engineering Physics???

I'm not sure which of the two I would want to get into. What kinds of jobs do the two majors usually lead to? And which major has a better career outlook? I'll be very grateful for any information I can get! Thanks!

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 5:58 pm
eraurocktchick87 wrote:
While we are on the subject...

Can anyone tell me the difference between AE and Engineering Physics???

I'm not sure which of the two I would want to get into. What kinds of jobs do the two majors usually lead to? And which major has a better career outlook? I'll be very grateful for any information I can get! Thanks!


ERAU's Engineering Physicis degree is designed as a direct lead-in to their Space Science Master's degree. As near as I can tell, the Space Science program is oriented towards semi- or fully-autonomous remote systems, such as satellites and planetary probes. Especially considering their emphasis on "interfacing between scientists and design engineers" (here), it seems to be almost strictly research-vehicle-design oriented. There is nothing mentioned on either degree webpage about humans, only mechanical and electrical systems.

On the other hand, AE is much more generalized, extending from the autonomous Micro-Air-Vehicles that UF takes pride in to the grand old Saturn Vs. Although the astro division of AE often focuses on research vehicle design, it doesn't always: we also produce passenger and cargo vehicles, and launch vehicle design is becoming an ever stronger field (I get to talk that one up because it's my specialty). This is where Humans interact with autonomous probes and with space and other planets themselves.

In short, if you want to be at the forefront of planetary and interstellar exploration and scientific research, be the first person to see new wonders unfold before the Human Race, lead the search for extraterrestrial life, then you want the EP program. If you want to put Humans in space, establish orbital and extraterrestrial colonies, and walk untrodden ground, see the Sun rise from another world, then AE's the route for you. Not an easy choice, by any means.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:19 pm
Well, thanks for the information... Didn't help at all though. Oh well, worst comes to worse, I can decide when I get there right? Both sound so awesome, if I was slightly more insane than I already am, I would do a dual major, but alas, I lack the high level of craziness needed for such a feat. :?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 05, 2004 12:40 am
eraurocktchick87 wrote:
Well, thanks for the information... Didn't help at all though. Oh well, worst comes to worse, I can decide when I get there right? Both sound so awesome, if I was slightly more insane than I already am, I would do a dual major, but alas, I lack the high level of craziness needed for such a feat. :?


Hrm. Lemme try this again: if you wanna deal with manned vehicles (especially launch vehicles, which will be the Big Thing for the most of the next decade), then you have to be in AE, period. Aerodynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Propulsion, Structures, etc..

If you wanna design orbiting satellites, unmanned robotic probes, AND/OR be the Mission Design/Control Specialist (the one who figures out when the probe needs to turn to get a photograph of the passing asteroid that's of a type never seen before), then you should probably be in Engineering Physics/Space Science. Physics. Lots and lots of physics. Especially kinematics (study of motion).

An AE graduate can do any of it (e.g., the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo/Voyager mission controllers), but the Space Science graduate is specifically trained in it.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 07, 2004 7:29 pm
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Let us know how it goes. Have great time!


One review requested, one review forthcoming.

Mom and I drove up on Thursday and (as it was cloudy and dark and otherwise nasty-looking) we decided against checking out the campus before retiring to our hotel for the night. The next morning, we left the Courtland drive Travelodge (fairly decent hotel), and headed towards Tech.

First Rule of Life in Atlanta: one-way streets can get extremely annoying, extremely quickly. Second Rule of Life in Atlanta: there's about fifteen streets named Peachtree (east, west, norh, court, drive, place, etc., etc., etc.).

After driving around for about half an hour to determine these two Rules, we found a side street that permitted visitors to parallel park in metered slots. According to the Tech website, the slots cost fifty cents an hour, with a ten hour maximum. Well, the website was wrong. It's a dollar an hour, with a two hour maximum, meaning we would've spent almost ten dollars, while interrupting our meetings every two hours to go feed the meter. We finally found a fee lot, which had a five dollar (all day) maximum, left the car there, and hiked the three or four blocks to the Student Success Center (where the Info Sessions and tours started from).

Walked into the Success Center at about 7:30 AM, made sure I didn't need an appointment, and picked up a campus map. From my (admittedly limited) experiences at CFCC, I knew there are basically three areas of any campus that passersby have full access to, and can actually see if anything's going on: the Student Union, the Library, and the Bookstore. We headed on over to the Library, as that was the closest. I'm going to list three facts about this library, and then I'm going to stop: 1) it's one of the most complete technical libraries in the world; 2) it has two wings (each of which is at least 400x200 feet, if not more), and seven floors, all stacked from floor to ceiling with materials; and 3) it's just the largest one on campus (each individual school has its own). 'Nuff said.

The bookstore was just as impressive. Four floors, the top two of which are classrooms, conference rooms, and offices. The bottom floor consists of a small grocery store, a books-for-pleasure store, and a Georgia-Tech-Stuff store. The second floor is textbooks, a small electronics store, more books-for-pleasure, and housewares (dorm-sized tables, lamps, bathroom stuff, etc.). Perspective: my entire bookstore is the size of their Mostly-Useless-Georgia-Tech-Stuff-That's-Basically-Only-Sold-To-Alumni department. Again, 'nuff said.

Then we headed back to the Success Center and sat through the basic admissions schpiel. Afterwards, I walked up to the lady who gave it, and asked what a transfer student with 60-some-odd credits and a two-year degreee was supposed to do. Without missing a beat, she said she'd get an admissions counselor to talk with me (which was what I was really hoping to get to do). After the tour and the College Engineering info session, a counselor (who I later found out is the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions :shock: ) took us into her office, and provided some invaluable advice. She finally asked if I had any other questions, and when I asked if there was any way I could talk to somebody from the AE department, she was heading for her phonebook before I could finish the question. So AE tells her to just send me over, that they'll find somebody to talk to me. I get over there, and I get sent to "somebody" down the hall. Turns out "somebody" is Dr. Lakshmi Sankar, Regents' Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs, and the guy who wrote the AE Overview for the school website. Without any hesitation, he spent almost an hour, one-on-one, explaining what to look for in a really good AE school, and highliting the strengths of Georgia Tech.

None of this was planned, I just asked if there was any last-minute things they could do while I happened to be there, and they responded by practically rolling out the red carpet. It was just a beautiful day (temperatures never went over 75°F) on a beautiful campus, which is home to one of the best Aerospace Engineering schools in the world.

Georgia Tech has just jumped from being a possibility to being my first choice of schools.

Looks like I'm gonna get chance to see the Coca-Cola factory yet...

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:34 am
Slow down Spacecowboy! You forgot the SU bar!!! How much is a pint there before you rush into these things. :)

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