The Aerospace strategic theme of the School of Engineering and Information Technology connects the science, engineering, technology and human factors associated with flight and space systems. Strengths of the School within this theme include aerodynamics, avionics, control, fluid and fluid structural dynamics, heat transfer, human factors, hypersonic and high speed flows, imaging, instrumentation, materials, propulsion, remote sensing, systems, telemetry, and unmanned aerial systems.

Within this theme, we conduct teaching and research in the fields of aeronautical engineering, aviation and space engineering. Aeronautical engineering is the study of the design, development, manufacture, maintenance and control of machines or vehicles operating in the atmosphere of Earth or other planets. Aviation relates to the various technological and human systems that contribute to the safe and efficient operation of an aircraft. Our space program, UNSW Canberra Space, is concerned with conducting in-orbit experiments and other high impact activities such as space technology development, satellite formation flying, space situational awareness and advanced instrumentation.

In our research and teaching, our School has had considerable impact on the development of Aerospace systems, technologies and highly trained personnel, both in Australia and worldwide. These include:

  • The joint development and flight with Defence Science and Technology Group of the Buccaneer CubeSat, as part of a program of in-orbit calibration of Australia’s over-the-horizon radar network.
  • Award of a $10M contract from RAAF for a suite of ground-based space situational awareness research and the development and in-orbit demonstration of CubeSat-based maritime surveillance technologies.
  • Aerodynamic and thermo-structural design of hypersonic test vehicles flown by large international collaborations including the European Space Agency’s HEXAFLY-INT project and the Australian Space Research Program funded SCRAMSPACE mission. This works included instrumentation and experiments flown on these hypersonic vehicles; development of new ignition systems and a laser-based air speed sensor for high-speed aircraft; recreation of fluid-structure interactions in hypersonic flows in computer simulations and wind tunnel experiments under ARC-DP, CRC-P and US Air Force funding; and investigation of existing and novel propulsion technologies for defence agencies;
  • Throughout 2016-2018, our School and campus played a pivotal role in the creation of the forthcoming Australian Space Agency, in collaboration with the Commonwealth, ACT and South Australian governments, and UNSW Canberra Space – Australia’s leading space capability, with 40+ space scientists and engineers and symbiotic links to the spin-off space company Skykraft Pty Ltd - all co-located within our School.
  • The education of highly trained technologists and engineers, many of whom are now in leadership positions in Defence and civilian industry.

Our School offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the Aerospace domain. We offer a number of undergraduate coursework degrees which include a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (4 years duration), the Bachelor of Technology in Aeronautical Engineering (3 Year duration), the Bachelor of Technology in Aviation and an Aviation major for Bachelor of science. We offer two postgraduate coursework degrees in space: the Master of Space Operations and the Master of Space Engineering, and also the Master of Engineering Science (with many technical  specialisations). Finally, we offer research degrees in Aerospace-related fields which include the Master of Philosophy, Master of Engineering by Research and Doctor of Philosophy.

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