AskDefine | Define aerospace

Dictionary Definition

aerospace n : the atmosphere and outer space considered as a whole

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the atmosphere of the Earth and the region of space around it
  2. the industry concerned with aircraft, missiles, satellites and spacecraft


  1. of, or relating to the Earth's atmosphere and nearby space
  2. of, or relating to the science, technology and industry associated with aircraft, missiles, satellites and spacecraft

Extensive Definition

This article is about the field of research and industry; for the corporation, see The Aerospace Corporation
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space. Aerospace is a very diverse field, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications. Aerospace is not the same as airspace, which is a term used to describe the physical air space directly above a location on the ground.


In most industrial countries, the aerospace industry is a cooperation of public and private industries. For example, several countries have a space program under the command of the government, such as NASA in the United States, ESA in Europe, the Canadian Space Agency in Canada, Indian Space Research Organisation in India, RKA in Russia and China National Space Administration in China
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 Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, EADS, and Boeing. These companies are also involved in other areas of aerospace such as the construction of aircraft. Many countries have air transport companies, such as Air France and Air India.


The field of aerospace has been investigated for millennia but it can be said that modern aerospace began with the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk on December 16, 1903, by the Wright brothers. From there, aerospace has grown to be one of the most exciting, diverse, and fast paced fields of today. From the hot-air balloons of 18th century to the first wood-and-cloth plane of Wilbur and Orville Wright to the first manned mission to the moon on Apollo 11 to the new and exciting aircraft being developed by companies like Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier, aerospace has come a long way in a little over a century.

Aerospace manufacturing

Aerospace manufacturing is an industry that produces "aircraft, guided missiles, space vehicles, aircraft engines, propulsion units, and related parts," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Web site. Most of the industry is geared toward governmental work. For each original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the US government has assigned a CAGEcode. These codes help to identify each manufacturer, repair facilities and other critical after market vendors in the aerospace industry.
In the European Union, aerospace companies such as EADS, BAE Systems, Thales, Dassault, Saab and Finmeccanica 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 People's Republic of China, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Nanchang are major research and manufacture centres of aerospace industry. China has developed extensive capability to design, test and produce military aircraft, missiles and space vehicles. However, despite the experimental model of Y-10, which was abolished in 1984, China is still developing its civil aerospace industry.
In India, Bangalore is a major centre of aerospace industry, being the place where Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the National Aerospace Laboratories and Indian Space Research Organisation are headquartered. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is undertaking a project to send an orbiter to moon, due mid 2008. This project has been titled Chandrayaan (Moon Craft).
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.
In the United States, the Department of Defense and NASA are the two biggest consumers of aerospace technology and products. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States reported that the aerospace industry employed 444,000 wage and salary jobs in 2004. Most of those jobs were in Washington and California. The leading aerospace manufacturers in the world are Boeing, United Technologies Corporation, and Lockheed Martin Corp..
Important locations of the civil aerospace industry worldwide include Chicago (Boeing), Montreal in Canada (Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada), Toulouse in France and Hamburg in Germany (both Airbus/EADS), as well as São José dos Campos, where Brazilian Embraer is based.
Pakistan is also undertaking advancements in the field of aerospace engineering. It is now fulfilling its needs in the guided missile technology. After the establishment of the Institute of Space Technology, Pakistan is looking to advance in space technology as well as aircraft design and manufacturing.
The Aircraft parts industry was born out of the sale of second hand or used aircraft parts from the Aerospace Manufacturer 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 also known as an 'AOG', 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 market places that assist with the commoditized selling of aircraft parts.
aerospace in Czech: Aerokosmonautika
aerospace in Esperanto: Aerokosma flugadiko
aerospace in Indonesian: Dirgantara
aerospace in Maltese: Ajruspazju
aerospace in Scots: Aerospace

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

CAT, aerial, aerophysical, aerosphere, aerotechnical, air hole, air pocket, air-conscious, air-minded, air-wise, airsick, airspace, airworthy, aviational, bump, ceiling, crosswind, empty space, favorable wind, fog, front, head wind, high-pressure area, hole, ionosphere, jetstream, low-pressure area, overcast, pocket, roughness, soup, space, stratosphere, substratosphere, tail wind, tropopause, troposphere, trough, turbulence, visibility, visibility zero
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