October 29, 2016

What Does A Rocket Scientist Actually Do?

We’ve all heard the saying, It’s not rocket science. So what is rocket science and what exactly does a rocket scientist actually do?

Man experiments with rocket launcher

It’s probably best to start with a hard truth. According to NASA, officially, there is no such thing as a rocket scientist. There are “rocket engineers and there are scientists,” and they get lumped together into the generic term of rocket scientist. In reality, rocket science is a major part of aerospace engineering.

Aerospace engineering is divided into two major and overlapping branches – aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Therefore the term rocket scientist most likely refers to an aerospace engineer.

An aerospace engineer’s job involves the science, design, testing, and construction of rocket propelled spacecraft, aircraft, satellites, or defense systems. They may specialize in guidance systems, avionics, materials, acoustics, fabrication, propulsion, or other disciplines dedicated to flight vehicles.

How To Become A Rocket Scientist

It takes a brilliant mind and a driven individual who is on the forefront of a innovative industry to become a “rocket scientist.” Typically they need a degree in aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, physics, astronautical engineering, or related subjects. These are all complex topics. Jobs in this niche require years of study and upper level degrees.

Aerosoace engineers, aka Rocket Scientists, typically work for organizations and businesses like NASA, Space X, the federal government, or the US Military. According to BLS.gov, aerospace engineers make an average salary of $107,830.

Does the science and engineering behind aircraft and spacecraft fascinate you? If so, consider pursuing a career in aerospace engineering. It’s a lucrative niche that requires you to be on top of your game. Are you ready for that?

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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