MEng Aerospace Engineering with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Aerospace Engineering

Course unit fact file
Unit code AERO12001
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Introduction to aerospace engineering introduces the student to the foundation level knowledge of the subject of aerospace engineering. Laying the groundwork for success in later aerospace specific units. Further, it provides an anchor point for the student to link scientific and discipline level topics, such as aerodynamics, mathematics, mechanics, etc, with the specific needs and issues of aerospace engineering. Additionally, the student will gain an appreciation for the unique aspects of aerospace engineering that set it apart from related disciplines. 

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates


Introduce first year undergraduate students to the breadth of aerospace engineering. This includes
• History of aeronautics and astronautics,
• Basics of aircraft and spacecraft flight,
o Flight & orbital mechanics
o Aerodynamics
• Introduction to aerospace propulsion systems.


1. Introduction & What is Aerospace Engineering
a. What is the unit?
b. Why are we studying aerospace engineering?
c. What do we actually mean by aerospace engineering?
2. A Very Abridged History of Aerospace Engineering
Provides the student with a very brief history of the development of and developments within aerospace engineering. This includes key players, technical advancements and engineering artefacts. Includes a disputed list of the most significant aircraft and spacecraft
3. From the ground to Infinity & Beyond – Flight Environment
a. Introduction to the atmosphere, its layers, propertie,s and challenges
b. Introduction to the deeper space environment, its properties and challanges
4. Doctor Come Quick – the Anatomy of an aerospace craft
5. Repelling the Earth – Low Altitude Flight
Basic 3D and more detailed 2D flight mechanics, including trim and stability
6. Jumping and not hitting the Ground – High Altitude Flight
3D flight and basic orbital mechanics
7. Aerofoils, Wings and Lifting Things
Introduction to wings, aerofoils and coefficients of lift and drag
8. Houston, Enough Thrust and a Brick will Fly – An Introduction to Aerospace Propulsion
a. Introduction to aerospace propulsion, both combusting and non-combusting forms. This includes airbreathing and non-airbreathing systems
9.  Hopefully we don’t have a problem – Getting Up & Back to Earth
a. Space launch, from the rocket equation to orbital transfers
b. Atmospheric entry, how to take the energy back out of the system

1. Glider Flight Mechanics activity: Provides the user with a fundamental physical understanding of aircraft flight mechanics and control. Takes place during the first 3 weeks of the semester. Each student is provided with a foam glider on which they will cut-out and use control surfaces, mover the centre-of-gravity to assess trim, performance, and stability
2. Aerospace Systems Laboratory: A  3-week activity delving into physical and electronic aerospace systems. 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written exam 50%

Other - online quiz

Feedback methods

Exam scripts marked, general feedback by question

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 2
Lectures 11
Practical classes & workshops 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 75

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Hollingsworth Unit coordinator

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