Aerospace includes atmospheric and space flight and equipment such as rockets, satellites and planes. An aerospace systems engineer handles aerospace hardware and software systems.
Like so many other areas of technology, new aerospace technologies are also emerging. One of these areas involves zero-fuel aircraft. Zero-fuel aircraft use photovoltaic panels to utilize solar energy to provide necessary thrust to the engines. The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered prototype had nano carbon fiber reinforced structural components to reduce the overall weight of the body.
The recent surge in interest has put pressure on global aerospace and defense industries to create a long-term development strategy for the zero-fuel aircraft concept and drive market growth.
Another evolving aerospace systems engineering area is smart automation and blockchain. Manufacturing aircraft parts is a highly specialized and complicated process. However, new technologies and processes are making it faster and simpler. Take the airbus “factory of the future,” for example. Technicians are able to scan the metal surface with a tablet or smart glass and determine what the correct sized bolt that needs to be used is and how much torque is required. Based on this information, a robotic arm will perform the work.
Aerospace and defense companies are also starting to explore the digital realm as well. Technologies such as blockchain are helping to improve transparency and automate transactions among supply chain partners.
Advanced space propulsion technologies are also receiving considerable attention in aerospace circles. A new, plasma-based rocket propulsion technology known as the VASIMR® rocket (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket) has been in development by NASA, along with the Department of Energy and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for several years now. This new technology is expected to reduce fuel consumption and enable long-term space missions in the future.
Although both NASA and the engineer developing the VASIMR propulsion system have faced criticism, new breakthroughs have been made that hint toward a looming payoff.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Aerospace Systems Engineering Training, a 3-day course that covers the fundamentals of systems engineering and their applications in aerospace systems, emphasizing commercial and military systems.
Additionally, Tonex offers another 45 courses in Aerospace & Defense Engineering, including:
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