Aerospace systems engineers work primarily in two areas of employment: astronautical, which deals with spacecraft, rocket propulsion systems, and other space-related matters; and aeronautical, or terrestrial aircraft, ranging from small airplanes to large jets, fighter planes, missile guidance systems, and other Earth-bound flight operations. Much of the same training and education is required for both, as is additional education dedicated to the area in which they specialize.
On the job, aerospace systems engineers apply their education in mechanical, electrical, computer, and other engineering areas in a variety of ways. They may work on designing components of control systems or design aspects of propulsion systems, guidance systems, and flight craft design, and they also often participate in analyzing current and proposed systems, production, testing, and related operations.
These engineers typically work in an office as part of a design team with co-workers on-site, as well as collaborate online with others. In many cases they also visit production and testing facilities, which may involve some outdoor work. They work primarily in 8-hour shifts and some additional hours may be necessary when deadlines approach.
Most aerospace systems engineers have a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, and many earn higher degrees for advancement in the industry. Those in this position must always stay up-to-date with new developments in their area of study, as well as the specialized area in which they work.
Aerospace Systems Engineer Tasks
Develop, implement, and evaluate aerospace system testing, including scripts, specifications, and procedures.
Assist in preparing test schedules and defining tasks.
Prepare and present reports on system test results, assisting developers with system design.
Collect and analyze test data and customer requests to assess system operations.