Difference Between Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering


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7 Major Difference Between Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering

7 Major Difference Between Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering

March 3, 2022

The major aerospace industry is quite a huge and complex industry. One of the key drivers of growth in the aerospace industry is innovation. Enhancements in the technologies used in aeroplanes are rapidly changing. The aerospace industry is also seeing a shift from the traditional growth markets to new emerging markets.

The Aerospace industry market is experiencing rapid growth. Especially with an increase in the number of commercial airline deliveries, and the growth of military aircraft. The next few years will see some of the biggest changes to the industry in decades. The industry is changing to meet the demands of safety, security and increased profits.

If you are confused over whether you should pursue aerospace engineering or not, then this blog is for you.

This blog will look at aerospace and aeronautical engineering, the difference between aerospace engineering and aeronautical engineering and which is better aerospace or aeronautical engineering?

It’s time to dive in!

What is Aerospace Engineering?

Aerospace engineering as a subject has a long history and it dates back to the 1920s. This particular field of study was born out of the desire to construct safer and more efficient aircraft. It came into existence, as a result of rapid advancements in technology and the need to build flying machines, or rather, lighter-than-air balloons in addition to aeroplanes.

Aerospace engineering is one of the oldest forms of engineering in the world. It’s even older than some other forms of engineering like mechanics. Aerospace engineering is a broad term but it refers to the study of flight and the development of aircraft. It gives you an understanding of the process of designing aircraft and spacecraft, as well as their components and systems.

Aerospace engineering is generally divided into three main categories. These are:

  • Air Vehicle Design
  • Spacecraft Design
  • Aerospace Propulsion

The development of industrial production has attracted much attention to this field. It aids various functional units outside and on Earth, including missiles, military, space, and commercial aeronautics. Furthermore, they create missiles, defence systems, and other military and aviation technology.

What is Aeronautical Engineering?

The field of aeronautical engineering is one of the oldest and most well-defined branches of engineering. Aeronautical engineering has evolved over the years and today, it is used to describe a group of engineering disciplines and professions that work on the development of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and other similar flying machines.

The field of aeronautical engineering encompasses all aspects of the aircraft, from the design and manufacturing to the testing, maintenance and flying of the aircraft. Aeronautical engineering has been around since the beginning of engineering history. But as time passes by, this engineering discipline not only diversifies but also advances in complexity. It was at a time when the Wright brothers invented the aeroplane that the term “aeronautical engineering” was first used. The goal of aeronautical engineering is to produce aircraft for commercial, military and civil use. The subject of Aerospace engineering is Aeronautical Engineering. It exclusively deals with the design of any device capable of flight, such as a rocket or aircraft.

This branch of engineering is primarily concerned with aerodynamics and flight mechanisms. Aeronautical engineers oversee the design, development, and operation of aircraft within the earth’s atmosphere, including aeroplanes, gliders, and helicopters.

Nevertheless, engineers can specialize in aeronautics or astronautics, both of which pertain to flight on or outside the earth’s atmosphere.

Is Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering the Same?

Engineering contributes significantly to the structure of our society. It is engineers who supply the need for modern vehicles designed for smooth mobility, whether it is travelling to a forest for an adventure or exploring other planets in space for signs of life. With the rise of new avenues and opportunities, technology has turned aspiring engineers’ dreams into realities. Both Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering are a 4-year engineering course. To pursue these courses, you can opt for a B. Tech course specialized in aerospace or aeronautical engineering. Also, one can choose to pursue Mechanical engineering with the desired specialization. 

As an engineering discipline, Aerospace Engineering covers a much broader range of disciplines than Aeronautical Engineering. Aerospace engineers build and design aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and satellites. They build launch vehicles that are used for sending these objects into outer space. In Aeronautical Engineering, you’ll study the design and analysis of aircraft, helicopters, and aeroplanes, along with topics such as Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, Aircraft Structures, Flight Mechanics, and Aircraft Stability.

Aeronautical engineers study the fundamentals of flight and flight phenomena. They do the test of aircraft in wind tunnels and analyse the data collected. They also design the aircraft and its components. The distinction is that Aerospace engineers are the ones who eventually send the object into space. Astronautics, Spacecraft Dynamics, Fundamentals of Jet Propulsion, Spacecraft Dynamics, and Orbital Mechanics are among the courses students will take in Aerospace Engineering.

Aeronautical Aerospace Engineering is closely related and both do involve designing, building and testing vehicles that fly in the air. They both require the study of the basics of aerodynamics and the design and simulation of aircraft and spacecraft. However, there is a subtle difference between aerospace and aeronautical engineering.

Let us now take a look at Aeronautical Engineering vs Aerospace Engineering.

What is the Difference between Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering?

Aerospace Aeronautical Engineering both deal with flight and the equipment that enable flight. In contrast to aeronautics, aerospace is concerned with designing air and spacecraft. However, their job duties, requirements, and projects are different. Having a clear understanding of the differences between aerospace and aeronautical engineering will help you to determine your career path. 

The following are some of their key differences between aerospace and aeronautical engineering:

Aerospace vs aeronautical engineering: Education

In the case of aerospace engineering, you study how aircraft behave in the atmosphere and how to give them the best performance. Aeronautical engineering is engineering applied to aircraft. Aircraft have complex problems and aeronautical engineers must make use of scientific knowledge to find solutions to these problems. 

Aerospace is the study of outer space. It is the study of everything that flies in the air. Aeronautical engineering on the other hand is the study of everything that permits the pilot to fly safely and is important to the pilot. Things such as fuel systems and air conditioning.

Aeronautical engineering is the branch of engineering which focuses on the design process and the development of aircraft. Aerospace engineering is a broader field that not only utilizes aeronautical engineering but also encompasses other engineering fields such as mechanical, electrical and material engineering.

Aeronautical engineering vs aerospace engineering: Eligibility Criteria

The Aerospace Engineering program is a four-year course. Following are the eligibility criteria:

  • Students should have at least 60% marks (55%) in the Science stream (PCM) to be eligible.
  • The student should have completed his/her bachelor’s degree (BE/B Tech or equivalent) with at least 60% marks (55% marks for SC/ST).

It takes four years to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering. To apply for this program, candidates must meet certain eligibility criteria:

  • Ideally, students should have 70-75% in PCM in 12th grade.
  • JEE Main & JEE Advanced should be cleared. A valid JEE score is needed for admission.

Aeronautical engineering vs aerospace engineering: Salary

Both are good and well-paying engineering branches. A career in aerospace engineering is highly rewarding, requires a high level of expertise and opens up global career opportunities. You can enhance both your aeronautics and astronautics knowledge by studying aerospace engineering. Moreover, India too is rapidly becoming involved in space research. The field is skill-based, so there are plenty of opportunities. Professionals with the right skills will be paid well who can survive.

  • As a fresher, an Aeronautical Engineer earns between INR 5-11 LPA.
  • Aerospace Engineers make an average salary of INR 6-12 LPA as freshers.

Aerospace and aeronautical engineering: Jobs

Aerospace engineering is a very broad and diverse field, with many different and evolving specialities. Aerospace engineers work on all areas of flight, including propulsion, structure, avionics and control systems. Aerospace engineering is a very wide discipline and there are multitudes of different types of jobs available in the field. Depending on what you are most interested in, your job could range from designing and constructing an aeroplane to working with the federal government, to dealing with the testing of these aircraft and their components.

 After college, you could work for an aircraft manufacturer, an airline or even for the military, among others. Your job could also be in quality control, or with the maintenance of aircraft, among others. You could also work on spacecraft, missiles or missiles systems. As an aerospace engineer, you could be designing the next aeroplane, or helping to design and test the next generation of fighter jets. 

The most important factor is to have talent in the field of aeronautical engineering. It is also very important to have well-rounded knowledge in mathematics, science and engineering. You would also need to have good verbal and written communication skills. You should also have a sound knowledge of computers and be able to work as part of a team efficiently.

Aeronautical engineers work on the design, building, and testing of aircraft. Their work is used in manufacturing, design, and maintenance. The work is similar to aerospace engineering; however, the two fields have subtle differences. Aeronautical engineers are often responsible for implementing designs to build and test aeroplanes, whereas aerospace engineers are also involved in the development of flight systems.

Aerospace vs aeronautical engineering: Future Scope

Indian civil aviation will soon rank third in the world. For the growth of its aviation industry, our country needs qualified, skilled, and experienced aeronautical engineers. Therefore, aeronautical engineering will have a growing scope in the coming years. Students can therefore make a successful career choice in this profession.

In India, where the economy is still developing, the core profile offers better opportunities abroad. Overseas countries have an array of space centres powered by advanced technology. Students and workers can take advantage of modern technologies. The scope of aeronautical engineering abroad is more diverse.

In terms of civil aviation, India is on track to become the world’s third-largest. It has a budget of over 1.5 billion dollars for the aerospace sector. With its leading space agency, the ISRO, India has launched the most satellites in a single mission. Aeronautical engineers can also work for start-up companies and airlines. These start-ups deal with manufacturing, consulting, and maintenance for giant corporations. Indigo, SpiceJet, Air India, and others are a few of them. Therefore, it can be said that aeronautical engineers in India have many career prospects. 

When it comes to exploring the scope of aeronautical engineering abroad, there are numerous opportunities. Each year, many Indian aeronautical engineers are hired by countries such as the US, UK, Germany, and France. Additionally, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA (US Federal Government Agency) employs a significant number of Indian engineers. Hence, aeronautical engineering is one of the highest paying careers abroad if you want to make your career overseas.

Aerospace vs aeronautical engineering: Skills

Aerospace Engineering requires exceptional mathematical and observational abilities. To succeed in the field, candidates must be resilient and persistent. Aerospace engineers need to possess the following skills:

  • Science-related academic background with outstanding academic results
  • Excellent ability to reason, analyse and apply mathematics
  • High level of concentration when working for an extended period
  • Ability to think scientifically
  • Detail-oriented

The field of aeronautical engineering requires a great deal of technology and advanced skills. Here is a detailed list of those skills:

  • Analytical, speed, and accuracy abilities
  • Mindfulness and alertness
  • Self-management ability
  • Paying attention to every detail and staying focused

Aerospace vs aeronautical engineering: Cost

A course in aerospace engineering will cost you between INR 5 lakhs and INR 12 lakhs.

Aeronautical engineering usually costs the same. Depending on the type of institute that offers the course, the fee can range from 6 lakhs to 12 lakhs.

After reading the blog, we hope you have gained a basic understanding of aerospace vs aeronautical engineering.

What is better Aerospace or Aeronautical Engineering?

No matter whether you study aerospace engineering or aeronautical engineering, some topics are common to both degrees, such as dynamics, propulsion, fluid mechanics, etc. It is a subdivision of aerospace engineering, which is a superset of it. 

Choosing a branch depends on your career plan. Opting for an Aerospace Engineering course is a better choice if you are interested in a career in the space industry. And, it is better to major in Aeronautical Engineering if you want to work in the commercial aircraft industry.


Both aerospace and aeronautical engineering branches are highly coveted. For example, aerospace engineering pays the second-highest salary. With the continuous development of technology, aerospace and aeronautical engineering hold excellent opportunities for engineers. These fields are poised for tremendous growth in the future.

The career prospects for these subjects are varied due to their position on the cutting edge of technology. Among the myriad of opportunities for aspiring engineers are NASA, ISRO, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Corporate Research, Air Force, Airlines, Helicopter & Aviation Companies, Defence Ministry, Aircraft Manufacturing sectors, Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) and more.

Regardless of your choice, your main focus should be on finding the right institute to provide these courses. The top-ranked PG Programme in Design and Development (Aerospace) is offered by MADE Academy, in Bangalore, the most technologically advanced city in India. The course is designed to meet the current Aerospace requirements. The curriculum is carefully crafted so that it provides comprehensive learning and a wide range of services. This facilitates a dynamic learning process for students to become more globally competitive.  

MADE Academy’s PG Programme in Design and Development (Aerospace): why choose it?

This training is delivered by NSDC’s preferred training partner, Avistrat Academy. It is the only institution authorized and sponsored by the National Skills Council. Design modules are designed by the AASSC, the governing council for Aerospace. 

Notable Highlights of the Programme:

  • Learning based on Case Studies
  • Practical and industry-focused curriculum
  • Standard industry tools
  • Adaptable schedules
  • Financial assistance
  • Career counselling and interview preparation guidance
  • 100% assured placement

We hope you will enrol soon and become a part of MADE!