Article by Mr. Jay Ketan Gadoya
Aerospace is a unique combination of two opposite words. Aero refers to air and space which means the area above the atmosphere of the Earth, where there is no chance for any living organism to stay alive. On the Earth, all the living organisms are fringed by the different layers
of the atmosphere. Similarly, the Earth is surrounded by space wherein the other planets, stars, nebulas, galaxies and black holes exist. Moreover, on Earth we can travel efficiently from one place to the other by means of transportation. If we extend our horizon, we can travel from one planet to the other too. Aerospace industry has helped us to fulfill our dreams.
The journey of Aerospace engineering began with the inventions of small flying objects such as: Free Balloons, sky lantern and many more glorious objects. However, according to the Greek mythology, Daedalus built the wings which could help one to fly. He was successful to build the wings, but there is no solid evidence that he built the wings which were made of wax.
Well, as the time passed, in 1799, sir George Cayley designed the first modern fixed wing plane configuration. He also gave a perspective to the future generation that you need thrust to move forward, and the plane has to be light in weight. He is even known as the father of aviation. Practically, sir George Cayley couldn’t lift the plane up in the air, as his generation didn’t have such powerful engines which could lift the plane made by him. Furthermore, in 1903, Wright brothers built the first plane with engine. This enticed all the people around the world, as it was the first ever object which had controlled surface and could fly with the help of engine. The salient reason behind their success is the automobile industry and sir George Cayley. Wright brothers utilized the principles of sir George Cayley as well as a car engine. The automobile industry was in a developing stage and therefore they could use such powerful engine to lift the plane. It was one of the most innovative invention of that time. Wright brothers were airborne for about 30 minutes. The plane made by Wright brothers was studied for the course of next five years. In 1908, Wright Brothers secured a contract from U.S. army to build a single engine plane. The Duo also licensed their patents to allow the Astra company to manufacture the aircrafts in France.
The aviation industry was increasing exponentially in terms of manufacturing different models of airplanes. Innumerable designs of small and big airplanes were built with state-of-the-art technology. By 1914, French firms had built more than 2000 aircrafts, German firms had built about 1000 aircrafts. Predominant aircrafts in that era were used solely for combat. Wright brothers later developed aircrafts which were of more than 400 horse powers. These planes were designed for commercial use. They succeeded to do so. Similar plane models were designed and manufactured for the American citizens. The Wright aeronautical company was funded by the national government.
As the time passed, these nations were thriving to build different models of commercial planes as-well-as combat aircrafts. The technology was developed to such an extent that the pilots could rely on their instruments during their complete flight. In year 1945, American firms manufactured about 30,718 combat aircrafts. The American aviation industry designed planes with highly sophisticated instrument systems. The systems were reliable even at night time.
These systems were useful as flying was practiced during day and night too, solely by monitoring the aircraft systems.
Later the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R) built Sputnik 1, it was the first ever artificial satellite which could orbit the Earth. It was launched in 1957. The satellite was used to study the atmosphere of the Earth and to study the physical characteristics of space. It was one of the most unique invention of that time. As the Russians designed spacecrafts which could allow one to stay in low Earth orbit. Following the Cold War, the Russians designed the first ever lander spacecraft, the spacecraft carried one astronaut. Yuri Gagarin was the first one to travel in the space and land back on the Earth in a probe. However, this engendered to a space race between US and Russia. The president of United States, John F Kennedy announced that they will send two American astronauts to moon by year 1970. He gave a time period of about 10 years to the scientists. The Aerospace engineers were doing research on myriads of things during that time. Various designs of spacecrafts were made. The majority of focus was on propulsion systems. Moreover, the American scientist succeeded and took off for moon on 1969. After the completion of the moon mission, the cold war ended. The time between 1903 and 1969 was one of the most crucial period for Aerospace industry, basic designs of planes were made, spacecrafts with electronic devices were manufactured and commercial aircrafts were built. Furthermore, the commercial sectors were in the developing stage. Boeing, Whitney and Raytheon had competition with each other to globalize the aviation sectors. Boeing designed one of the most aerodynamically stable planes. It even enabled GPS systems in its aircrafts. This was one of the most salient change in the Aerospace sector, as this allowed ATC to see all the planes. This invention decreased the numbers of crashes which occurred earlier.
Different countries were developing their own spacecrafts and combat aircrafts. USA made the greatest number of prototypes. The defense sector was developed in USA. They had state-of the-art fleets. In commercial sector companies like Boeing and Airbus designed the planes which were fuel efficient and could perform better aerodynamically. This was one of the best invention, as it would save tons of fuel for the companies, less harmful to environment and cost effective too. These key factors helped them to stay in this industry. Aircrafts such as B777 and A350 are examples of the mighty structures designed by the Aerospace engineers.
On the other hand, there was a boom in space exploration too. Countries like USA, Canada, Japan, India, Australia and China sent abundant rockets to space to set up their own communication system, it was conquered by sending satellites. One of the prominent structure
in space is the ISS (International Space Station). The space station was one of the biggest achievement of the Aerospace Engineers. This innovative structure can reside 6 astronauts and is about the size of a football field. Currently the space station is used for research purpose, and as a medium to receive signals from flyby satellites. The space station would be useful for future missions such as the Artemis mission. Until now, USA and India have sent the orbiter spacecraft to Mars. Both the spacecraft were designed by the top-notch engineers and the propulsion systems were sophisticated in both of them.
In todays generation, the Aerospace industry is still in developing stage. Various propulsion systems, material for spacecrafts and aircrafts, interior systems and designs of spacecrafts are being tested. Until now, the Aerospace Engineers have sent spacecrafts to Saturn. NASA did various types of research on the atmosphere of Saturn and Jupiter. The propulsion systems play an imperative role in order to send spacecrafts to the end of the solar system. However, the engineers seem to have conquered in this field. In addition, these spacecrafts need to be sustainable on Earth atmosphere as-well-as the penetrating space. Our generation is ready for the next generation space exploration. Currently SpaceX and Blue Origin has planned to send a team of astronauts to Mars. This would be one of the biggest success of all time.
The future of Aerospace engineering is filled with full of challenges and opportunities. We would see many more innovative inventions in aerospace sector. Moreover, the designs of aircraft and spacecraft in future would be more sophisticated, as we would be on a different level of space exploration. The air transportation would be easier and will be much more in terms of frequency of aircraft.