Aerospace is the human effort in science, engineering, and business to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics). Aerospace organizations research, design, manufacture, operate, or maintain aircraft or spacecraft. Aerospace activity is very diverse, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications.
Aerospace is not the same as airspace, which is the physical air space directly above a location on the ground. The beginning of space and the ending of the air is considered as 100 km above the ground according to the physical explanation that the air pressure is too low for a lifting body to generate meaningful lift force without exceeding orbital velocity.
In most industrial countries, the aerospace industry is a cooperation of the public and private sectors. For example, several states have a civilian space program funded by the government through tax collection, such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States, European Space Agency in Europe, the Canadian Space Agency in Canada, Indian Space Research Organisation in India, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Japan, Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities in Russia, China National Space Administration in China, SUPARCO in Pakistan, Iranian Space Agency in Iran, and Korea Aerospace Research Institute in South Korea.
Along with these public space programs, many companies produce technical tools and components such as spaceships and satellites. Some known companies involved in space programs include Boeing, Cobham, Airbus, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, MacDonald Dettwiler and Northrop Grumman. These companies are also involved in other areas of aerospace, such as the construction of aircraft.
Modern aerospace began with Engineer George Cayley in 1799. Cayley proposed an aircraft with a "fixed wing and a horizontal and vertical tail," defining characteristics of the modern airplane.
The 19th century saw the creation of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (1866), the American Rocketry Society, and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, all of which made aeronautics a more serious scientific discipline.Airmen like Otto Lilienthal, who introduced cambered airfoils in 1891, used gliders to analyze aerodynamic forces. The Wright brothers were interested in Lilienthal's work and read several of his publications. They also found inspiration in Octave Chanute, an airman and the author of Progress in Flying Machines (1894). It was the preliminary work of Cayley, Lilienthal, Chanute, and other early aerospace engineers that brought about the first powered sustained flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers.
War and science fiction inspired scientists and engineers like Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Wernher von Braun to achieve flight beyond the atmosphere. World War II inspired Wernher von Braun to create the V1 and V2 rockets.
The launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 started the Space Age, and on July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 achieved the first manned moon landing.In April 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched, the start of regular manned access to orbital space. A sustained human presence in orbital space started with "Mir" in 1986 and is continued by the "International Space Station". Space commercialization and space tourism are more recent features of aerospace.
Aerospace manufacturing is a high-technology industry that produces "aircraft, guided missiles, space vehicles, aircraft engines, propulsion units, and related parts".Most of the industry is geared toward governmental work. For each original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the US government has assigned a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code. These codes help to identify each manufacturer, repair facilities, and other critical aftermarket vendors in the aerospace industry.
In the United States, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are the two largest consumers of aerospace technology and products. Others include the very large airline industry. The aerospace industry employed 472,000 wage and salary workers in 2006.Most of those jobs were in Washington state and in California, with Missouri, New York and Texas also being important. The leading aerospace manufacturers in the U.S. are Boeing, United Technologies Corporation, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. These manufacturers are facing an increasing labor shortage as skilled U.S. workers age and retire. Apprenticeship programs such as the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Council (AJAC) work in collaboration with Washington state aerospace employers and community colleges to train new manufacturing employees to keep the industry supplied.
Important locations of the civilian aerospace industry worldwide include Washington state (Boeing), California (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc.); Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada); Toulouse, France (Airbus/EADS); Hamburg, Germany (Airbus/EADS); and São José dos Campos, Brazil (Embraer), Querétaro, Mexico (Bombardier Aerospace, General Electric Aviation) and Mexicali, Mexico (United Technologies Corporation, Gulfstream Aerospace).
In the European Union, aerospace companies such as EADS, BAE Systems, Thales, Dassault, Saab AB and Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly Finmeccnica)account for a large share of the global aerospace industry and research effort, with the European Space Agency as one of the largest consumers of aerospace technology and products.
In India, Bangalore is a major center of the aerospace industry, where Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the National Aerospace Laboratories and the Indian Space Research Organisation are headquartered. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched India's first Moon orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, in October 2008.
In Russia, large aerospace companies like Oboronprom and the United Aircraft Building Corporation (encompassing Mikoyan, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev, Yakovlev, and Irkut which includes Beriev) are among the major global players in this industry. The historic Soviet Union was also the home of a major aerospace industry.
The United Kingdom formerly attempted to maintain its own large aerospace industry, making its own airliners and warplanes, but it has largely turned its lot over to cooperative efforts with continental companies, and it has turned into a large import customer, too, from countries such as the United States. However, the UK has a very active aerospace sector, including the second largest defence contractor in the world, BAE Systems, supplying fully assembled aircraft, aircraft components, sub-assemblies and sub-systems to other manufacturers, both in Europe and all over the world.
Canada has formerly manufactured some of its own designs for jet warplanes, etc. (e.g. the CF-100 fighter), but for some decades, it has relied on imports from the United States and Europe to fill these needs. However Canada still manufactures some military aircraft although they are generally not combat capable. Another notable example was the late 1950s development of the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, a supersonic fighter-interceptor whose 1959 cancellation was considered highly controversial.
France has continued to make its own warplanes for its air force and navy, and Sweden continues to make its own warplanes for the Swedish Air Force—especially in support of its position as a neutral country. (See Saab AB.) Other European countries either team up in making fighters (such as the Panavia Tornado and the Eurofighter Typhoon), or else to import them from the United States.
Pakistan has a developing aerospace engineering industry. The National Engineering and Scientific Commission, Khan Research Laboratories and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex are among the premier organizations involved in research and development in this sector. Pakistan has the capability of designing and manufacturing guided rockets, missiles and space vehicles. The city of Kamra is home to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex which contains several factories. This facility is responsible for manufacturing the MFI-17, MFI-395, K-8 and JF-17 Thunder aircraft. Pakistan also has the capability to design and manufacture both armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles.
In the People's Republic of China, Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Nanchang are major research and manufacture centers of the aerospace industry. China has developed an extensive capability to design, test and produce military aircraft, missiles and space vehicles. Despite the cancellation in 1983 of the experimental Shanghai Y-10, China is still developing its civil aerospace industry.
The aircraft parts industry was born out of the sale of second-hand or used aircraft parts from the aerospace manufacture sector. Within the United States there is a specific process that parts brokers or resellers must follow. This includes leveraging a certified repair station to overhaul and "tag" a part. This certification guarantees that a part was repaired or overhauled to meet OEM specifications. Once a part is overhauled its value is determined from the supply and demand of the aerospace market. When an airline has an aircraft on the ground, the part that the airline requires to get the plane back into service becomes invaluable. This can drive the market for specific parts. There are several online marketplaces that assist with the commodity selling of aircraft parts.
In the aerospaces & defense industry, a lot of consolidation has appeared over the last couple of decades. Between 1988 and 2011, worldwide more than 6,068 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of 678 bil. USD have been announced.The largest transactions have been:
Multiple technologies and innovations are used in aerospace, many of them pioneered around World War II:
Functional safety relates to a part of the general safety of a system or a piece of equipment. It implies that the system or equipment can be operated properly and without causing any danger, risk, damage or injury.
Functional safety is crucial in the aerospace industry, which allows no compromises or negligence. In this respect, supervisory bodies, such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA ),regulate the aerospace market with strict certification standards. This is meant to reach and ensure the highest possible level of safety. The standards AS 9100 in America, EN 9100 on the European market or JISQ 9100 in Asia particularly address the aerospace and aviation industry. These are standards applying to the functional safety of aerospace vehicles. Some companies are therefore specialized in the certification, inspection verification and testing of the vehicles and spare parts to ensure and attest compliance with the appropriate regulations.
Spinoffs refer to any technology that is a direct result of coding or products created by NASA and redesigned for an alternate purpose.These technological advancements are one of the primary results of the aerospace industry, with $5.2 billion worth of revenue generated by spinoff technology, including computers and cellular devices. These spinoffs have applications in a variety of different fields including medicine, transportation, energy, consumer goods, public safety and more. NASA publishes an annual report called "Spinoffs", regarding many of the specific products and benefits to the aforementioned areas in an effort to highlight some of the ways funding is put to use. For example, in the most recent edition of this publication, "Spinoffs 2015", endoscopes are featured as one of the medical derivations of aerospace achievement. This device enables more precise and subsequently cost-effective neurosurgery by reducing complications through a minimally invasive procedure that abbreviates hospitalization.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a governmental body of the United States with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters. Its powers include the construction and operation of airports, air traffic management, the certification of personnel and aircraft, and the protection of U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles. Powers over neighboring international waters were delegated to the FAA by authority of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
An aerospace manufacturer is a company or individual involved in the various aspects of designing, building, testing, selling, and maintaining aircraft, aircraft parts, missiles, rockets, or spacecraft. Aerospace is a high technology industry.
The Glenn L. Martin Company was an American aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company founded by aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin. The Martin Company produced many important aircraft for the defense of the US and allies, especially during World War II and the Cold War. During the 1950s and 60s, the Martin Company moved from the aircraft industry into the guided missile, space exploration, and space utilization industries.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American global aerospace and defense technology company. With 90,000 employees and an annual revenue in excess of $30 billion, it is one of the world's largest weapons manufacturers and military technology providers. The firm ranks No. 108 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations.
Convair, previously Consolidated Vultee, was an American aircraft manufacturing company that later expanded into rockets and spacecraft. The company was formed in 1943 by the merger of Consolidated Aircraft and Vultee Aircraft. In 1953 it was purchased by General Dynamics, and operated as their Convair Division for most of its corporate history.
Wright-Martin was a short-lived aircraft manufacturing business venture between the Wright Company and Glenn L. Martin.
The Robert J. Collier Trophy is an annual aviation award administered by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association (NAA), presented to those who have made "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."
Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation was a company founded by Sherman Fairchild. It was based on the East Coast of the United States, and provided research and development for flash photography equipment. The technology was primarily used for DOD spy satellites. The firm was later known for its manufacture of semiconductors.
United Technologies Corporation (UTC) was an American multinational conglomerate headquartered in Farmington, Connecticut. It merged with the Raytheon Company in April 2020 to form Raytheon Technologies. It researched, developed, and manufactured products in numerous areas, including aircraft engines, aerospace systems, HVAC, elevators and escalators, fire and security, building automation, and industrial products, among others. UTC was also a large military contractor, getting about 10% of its revenue from the U.S. government. Gregory J. Hayes was the CEO and chairman.
Vought was the name of several related American aerospace firms. These have included, in the past, Lewis and Vought Corporation, Chance Vought, Vought-Sikorsky, LTV Aerospace, Vought Aircraft Companies, and Vought Aircraft Industries. The first incarnation of Vought was established by Chance M. Vought and Birdseye Lewis in 1917. In 1928, it was acquired by United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, which a few years later became United Aircraft Corporation; this was the first of many reorganizations and buyouts. During the 1920s and 1930s, Vought Aircraft and Chance Vought specialized in carrier-based aircraft for the United States Navy, by far its biggest customer. Chance Vought produced thousands of planes during World War II, including the F4U Corsair. Vought became independent again in 1954, and was purchased by Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) in 1961. The company designed and produced a variety of planes and missiles throughout the Cold War. Vought was sold from LTV and owned in various degrees by the Carlyle Group and Northrop Grumman in the early 1990s. It was then fully bought by Carlyle, renamed Vought Aircraft Industries, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. In June 2010, the Carlyle Group sold Vought to the Triumph Group.
The National Aeronautic Association of the United States (NAA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and a founding member of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Founded in 1905, it is the oldest national aviation club in the United States and one of the oldest in the world, it serves as the “Aeroclub of the United States” and, by its Mission Statement it is "…dedicated to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States.” The NAA is headquartered at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, in Washington, D.C.
Nadcap is a global cooperative accreditation program for aerospace engineering, defense and related industries.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the aerospace field:
Takeo Doi was a Japanese aircraft designer. He designed many World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. His most important work was the "Army Type 3 Fighter", aka Kawasaki Ki-61 "Hien" or "Tony". Also he was one of the chief designers of the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (NAMC) YS-11.
Honeywell Aerospace is a manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics, as well as a producer of auxiliary power units (APUs) and other aviation products. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, it is a division of the Honeywell International conglomerate. It generates approximately $10 billion in annual revenue from a 50/50 mix of commercial and defense contracts.
Garrett AiResearch was a manufacturer of turboprop engines and turbochargers, and a pioneer in numerous aerospace technologies. It was previously known as Aircraft Tool and Supply Company, Garrett Supply Company, AiResearch Manufacturing Company, or simply AiResearch. In 1964, Garrett AiResearch merged with Signal Oil & Gas to form a company renamed in 1968 to Signal Companies, which in 1985 merged with Allied Corp. into AlliedSignal. In 1999 AlliedSignal acquired Honeywell and adopted the Honeywell name.
Korea Aerospace University is a private university in Goyang, Gyeonggi, South Korea. Established in 1952 as a national university, it was taken over by Jungseok Foundation established by Hanjin Group and transferred to a private university. The university — which encompasses most of the aerospace fields including Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Electronics, Telecommunications, Computer Engineering, Air Transportation and Logistics, Aeronautical Science & Flight Operation, and Air and Space Law — has been designated to take several national undertakings and collaborative research projects with prominent global corporations including GE, Airbus, PLANSEE since 2009.
The Robert J. Collier Trophy is owned and administered by the National Aeronautic Association and is awarded annually "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."
Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an American multinational conglomerate headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. The company is one of the largest aerospace and defense manufacturers in the world by revenue and market capitalization. It researches, develops, and manufactures advanced technology products in the aerospace and defense industry, including aircraft engines, avionics, aerostructures, cybersecurity, missiles, air defense systems, and drones. The company is also a large military contractor, getting a significant portion of its revenue from the U.S. government.
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