Aeronautical Engineering Course - EXPLO

Aeronautical Engineering

Explore the science of aerodynamics as you build aircraft ranging from paper planes to high-flying model rockets.

To gain a hands-on understanding of concepts like lift, drag, thrust, and flow, you will take on a series of engineering challenges: developing compressed air rockets that fly straighter and longer, calibrating projectiles to hit a distant target, and designing streamlined gliders that soar through the sky. Build and test original creations over a sequence of launches while observing and analyzing critical moments of failure and success. With regular experimentation and your team’s ingenuity, you’ll design enhanced aircraft that can travel farther, higher, and faster.

Plan your summer

Wellesley

Course Highlights

  • Paper Air-Powered Rockets

    Create paper air rockets propelled by a short burst of air, and then collect data to hone the best fin placement, nose cone shape, and rocket length for your future designs.

  • Glider Prototypes

    Create a glider that can soar and perform flips in mid-air. Using lightweight foam sheets and a wind tunnel for testing prototypes, construct your own design for optimal lift and extended flight.

  • Chemical-Powered Rockets

    With the concepts of the Ideal Gas Law in mind, create a pressurized rocket that will explode upwards to great heights. Design experiments to identify the ideal reactions for the most powerful rocket fuel and best flight.

  • Electric-Launcher Rockets

    Construct a culminating project using powerful engines. Apply all of your projectile knowledge to build a model rocket that can travel rapidly to a remarkable height.

My understanding of the design thinking process is now at a whole new level. The fact that something so abstract like space exploration and mechanical engineering was so hands-on was really cool. I really got to understand how to problem-solve for things like atmospheric pressure, temperature, and structural loads. I’m leaving the class with a better understanding of what it really means to be an engineer.