Aerospace Industry is a complex of manufacturing firms that produce vehicles for flight—from balloons, gliders, and airplanes to jumbo jets, guided missiles, and the space shuttle. The industry also encompasses producers of everything from seat belts to jet engines and missile guidance systems. The term aerospace is a contraction of the words aeronautics (the science of flight within Earth’s atmosphere) and space flight. It came into use during the 1950s when many companies that had previously specialized in aeronautical products began to manufacture equipment for space flight.
The aerospace industry traces its origins to the Wright brothers’ historic first flights in a heavier-than-air-machine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. Until World War I (1914-1918), airplane construction largely remained in the hands of industry pioneers, who built each wood-framed plane by hand. Wartime military needs drove improvement in aircraft design. By the 1930s all-metal planes featuring retractable landing gear and high-performance engines were commonly used to deliver airmail and carry civilian passengers in Europe and the United States. During World War II (1939-1945) the industry made further strides with the introduction of massive production facilities that turned out tens of thousands of airplanes. World War II research and development resulted in radar, electronic controls, and jet aircraft with gas-powered turbine engines, and combat rockets.
Postwar tension between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States drove aerospace technologies to new highs as the two countries raced to establish a presence in space. By the start of the Apollo Program in 1961, development and construction of space flight vehicles and supporting systems occupied a major portion of the American and Soviet aerospace industries. At the close of the 20th century, aerospace firms around the world produced rockets and artificial satellites. Originally developed for national space exploration and military purposes, these spacecraft found peacetime uses in telecommunications, navigation, and meteorology and thus making the Aerospace industry as vibrant as ever.
- Aerospace in 1972: Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Aerospace in 1981: Obituaries (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Aeronautics in 1969: International aircraft industry (egrejeen.wordpress.com)