New major created in aeronautics and astronautics

aircraft wing
A new major in aeronautics and astronautics will enable undergraduates to help develop and apply the technologies of flight.

Prodded by students and pulled by traditional firms and startups, Stanford is creating an undergraduate major in aeronautics and astronautics.

“For almost 60 years we’ve had successful graduate and research programs,” said professor Charbel Farhat, chair of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Now we have a way to help Stanford undergraduates find their places in this new aerospace century.”

The department hopes to prepare majors for the different careers made possible as the aerospace landscape changes. Some students may see themselves on small teams developing tiny satellites or unmanned aerial vehicles, while others may aspire to leadership roles with established space or aerospace firms. The new curriculum also take non-majors into account, with introductory courses and electives to help them imagine how they might apply new aerospace technologies to their fields.

The department will begin accepting new majors in the fall. But the department’s faculty already have some inkling of the student energy headed their way.

“It’s a new era of space exploration and the next generation of undergraduates want to be front and center,” said assistant professor Debbie Senesky, adding, “I recently had a student advisee tell me she wanted to manage a space hotel in the future.”

Read the entire story on the web pages of the School of Engineering.