With love from a senior.
The aerospace engineering program here at ERAU allows you to pick from between four tracks: aeronautics (airplanes), astronautics (space vehicles), jet propulsion, and rocket propulsion. Currently I’m in the astronautics track, and here are a few of my favorite classes I’ve taken so far:
AE 313 (Space Mechanics)
This was my favorite class I’ve ever taken. It’s an introductory orbital mechanics class, so you get to learn about transfer orbits and creating trajectories. I also got to learn Systems Tool Kit (STK), which is a software that helps visualize the orbit. It’s a software I’m using right now in my senior design class. My professor was funny and engaging, so that was a plus too!
AE 427/425 (Senior Design)
I really like my senior design class- it’s broken into preliminary and detail design classes, but you’re supposed to stay with your team in the same class for a whole year. Our project deals with space situational awareness and we are designing a theoretical CubeSat to take pictures of objects in the geostationary orbit belt. I also have a great group that’s full of hard-working friends, which makes the class so much more fun.
AE 315 (Experimental Aerodynamics Lab)
Although I’m more of a space person, I loved my experimental aerodynamics lab. The professor who runs the lab requires a do-it-yourself group project, and my group chose to put a model 737 fuselage in the wind tunnel. This project takes place after you do five pre-designed experiments and you split each lab section of 10 students into 2 groups.
AE 426 (Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics)
I loved this class- even though people abbreviate it at SAD. My professor taught it in a real-world application method, letting us do a final project to put together what we’d learned. It was a fully theoretical do it yourself and like a miniature senior design class without all of the requirements. The class builds on AE 313 and talks more about an individual spacecraft’s attitude rather than an orbital dynamic.
AE 434 (Spacecraft Controls)
This class builds on AE 426, and my professor did a semester-long project to go along with the class. He gave us a scenario about a satellite and had us model controllers for it, starting with the attitude control and moving to basic controller design.
I am more of a project lover than a test lover as you can probably tell, but I find them less stressful and more applicable to the real world. People aren’t going to hide your textbooks, and engineering is a group effort, so you can ask other engineers if you need help. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’ll see you in the next one… and hopefully at Riddle!