Aeronautics is the science and practice of aircraft navigation. It is also used to refer to the engineering discipline related to the design, construction, and operation of aircraft. In relation to astronautics, aeronautics refers specifically to vehicles designed for travel within the atmosphere, while astronautics refers specifically to vehicles designed for travel outside of the atmosphere.
Aeronautics is sometimes divided into various disciplines. Aerostation is the design, construction, and operation of lighter-than-air vehicles such as balloons. Aviation is the design, construction, and operation of heavier-than-air vehicles such as airplanes and helicopters.
In common usage however, the term aviation is also used as a synonym for aeronautics, or sometimes even to refer to aeronautics and astronautics as a whole.
One of the earliest scientists to study aeronautics was Leonardo DaVinci. DaVinci studied the flight of birds in developing engineering schematics for some of the earliest flying machines in the late fifteenth century AD.
Modern aeronautics is primarily conducted by independent corporations and universities. There are also a number of government agencies that study aeronautics, including NASA in the United States and the European Space Agency in Europe.
- Aerospace Engineering
- Mechanics of fluids
- Aeronautical abbreviations
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