University of Southern California USC Department of Astronautical Engineering The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering USC
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Astronautical Engineering encompasses the dynamic and cutting-edge fields of advanced science and space technology. Space is increasingly important for our economy and national security as well as exploration. The United States depends on space assets more than any other nation on earth, and we lead the world in exploration and utilization of space. Space engineers design and build rockets and space launchers, communications and direct broadcasting satellites, space navigational systems, remote sensing satellites, manned space vehicles, and planetary probes. They operate complex earth-orbiting space systems and rovers on Mars from sophisticated ground control centers. There is no better academic major than Astronautical Engineering in which to obtain the education and to acquire the skills needed for space engineers.

Focused, intellectually fit, and blending the science and engineering fundamentals with specialized astronautics knowledge, Astronautical Engineering graduates are well prepared to join the space industry and government space research and development centers.

Ad Astra!
Dan Erwin, Chairman

ASTE Department Celebrates 10th Anniversary

ASTE 10th Anniversary Brochure The Department of Astronautical Engineering, founded in 2004, celebrates its 10th anniversary during the 2014-2015 academic year. A commemorative brochure can be viewed here.

ASTE Student Wins Astronaut Scholarships

Jason Silverman picture Jason Silverman, an undergraduate majoring in Astronautical Engineering, has won Astronaut Scholarships in both 2013 and 2014. 28 of these scholarships are awarded annually by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, established in 1984 by the Mercury 7 astronauts.

Astronautics Student Wins Best Thesis Award

Darren Garber completed his Ph.D. in Astronautical Engineering in the Spring 2012 semester. His thesis, "Application of the Fundamental Equation to Celestial Mechanics and Astrodynamics," was awarded the Best Thesis Award of the Viterbi School. In it, a new curvature-based method of computing orbital trajectories is presented.

Dr. Michael Efroimsky, Astronomer at the U.S. Naval Laboratory, who served on Garber's dissertation committee, stated that this was the best doctoral thesis he had ever seen.

Garber's advisor was Prof. Firdaus Udwadia of USC's Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department.

Rocket Lab Team Wins Student Paper Award

Three Rocket Lab students, William L. Murray III, Sarah W. Hester, and Steven A. Leverette, won the Best Paper Award at the AIAA Region VI Student Conference in Seattle on March 31, 2012. The work, based on the students' senior design project, demonstrated that the thrust of a solid rocket motor could be increased once ignited by injecting inert gas into the combustion chamber. The thrust increase is a consequence of the increase in chamber pressure which augments the propellant burn rate. Picture courtesy Roger Snider.

Astronautics Student Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Matthew Orr, a sophomore Astronautical Engineering major, has won a nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation awards up to 300 scholarships annually to students in science, engineering and mathematics.

Orr has a minor in Astronomy. His career goal is to teach at the university level and to make significant contributions to the fields of plasmadynamics and space propulsion.