Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Concentration

Launching Fall 2020

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Find your place

in space.

Pursuing an aerospace engineering concentration will expand your knowledge of the design, manufacturing, and operating techniques of air flight capable machines. 

Our aerospace faculty are experts and leaders in the aerospace industry and will guide you through the understanding of engineering disciplines such as fluid mechanics, chemical propulsion, stability and control, and structures as it applies to aircraft and rockets that fly within and above Earth’s atmosphere. 

Earn an undergraduate concentration in aerospace engineering when you complete 12 credit hours (four technical electives) of approved coursework.

Hear from United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno on the launch of our new Aerospace Engineering program.

Aerospace Engineering

Scholarships

The Mechanical Engineering Department will award up to four $5,000 scholarships 
to students who declare an undergraduate concentration in aerospace engineering.

Minimum 3.0 GPA required

Awards will be made in January 2021 for the spring semester.
Application open October 1-December 15 

Explore out-of-this world opportunities

Aerospace Internships and Careers

Many Colorado aerospace companies offer internships that lead to employment opportunities.
Read about a few MECH recent graduates whose internships landed them their dream jobs. 

Danelle Lazcano-Concelman is a first-generation student who changed her plan of pursuing a
career in renewable energy to one in aerospace after her internships at NASA.

Next month, she starts work at NASA as a cryogenic propulsion systems engineer.

Read Danelle’s story

Caitlin Robinson’s internship at United Launch Alliance secured her full-time position with the company’s Mechanical Ground Support Equipment group.

She now designs and models components and test fixtures for the Movable Launch Platform on the Vulcan rocket.  

Read Caitlin’s story

$125,070
Average salary of Colorado aerospace engineers in 2019 – US Bureau of Labor Statistics​

My parents always told me, “the sky’s the limit” and “reach for the stars.” Here I am reaching past the stars, and I know the sky is no longer the limit.

– Danelle Lazcano-Concelman, SP’20, NASA Cryogenic Propulsion Systems Engineer

Programs, Clubs, and Organizations

NASA Space Grant Program 

The NASA Space Program at CSU has a 30-year history of providing undergraduate students with educational and professional opportunities in aerospace studies through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s (COSGC) project-based team challenges and competitions. 

This past spring, employees from NASA, Ball Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin were on the panel of judges who presented awards to three teams of CSU Mechanical Engineering students at COSGC’s Undergraduate Space Research Symposium. 

Read “CSU students win big for space grant anniversary”

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

The American Institute of Aeronautics is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with over 30,000 members worldwide. 

AIAA at CSU is an organization that is dedicated to introducing students to aerospace industry connections, as well as providing opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics through a collection of lectures, seminars, and competitions centered on the aerospace industry.

We have tapped into this community of individuals and mentors with whom we got to connect and who want to continue to help us, and that’s already an opportunity. My teammates and I have also begun considering other careers that we otherwise wouldn’t have. Like positions at NASA.

– Vanessa Montoya, 2019-20 Space Grant program student

Research on Martian propulsion, testing a mixture of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide as oxidizers with a high metal content fuel grain.

Rocket Team

The CSU Rocket Team formed in 2014 as a senior design team. Since then, the group has grown from four to fourteen students, and innovations to the Aries rocket have record-breaking wins in intercollegiate competitions.  

The four female leads of the 2019-20 team were one of the winning teams at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s (COSGC) Undergraduate Space Research Symposium.

Read about the team’s journey to the 2019 Spacesport America Cup, an intercollegiate competition held in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Over 120 teams participated – CSU was the only one to launch a liquid rocket, AND they made it to 9,500 feet, which is more than twice as high as any liquid rocket ever traveled in the contest.

Read With liquid-fueled rocket, CSU team aiming high at Spaceport America Cup

People and Research

Our department has a long history of aerospace research programs, beginning in 1962 with the Electric Propulsion & Plasma Engineering Lab. Initial research focused on developing a “plasma” wind tunnel to simulate the space environment that satellites in low-Earth-orbit experience. The lab’s research expanded shortly after to include the development of electric propulsion devices used on satellites for both deep space and near Earth missions.

Mechanical Engineering researchers work closely with government research laboratories and currently executing on over $14M in aerospace-related research grants from NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Meet the Mechanical Engineering researchers and a few of the students who are impacting the aerospace industry with their research in Energy and Materials and Manufacturing.

Transportation Systems and Aerospace

MechE Researchers
In the News

Iman Babazadeh earned his master’s degree in July 2020. 

He began his graduate program in the Cookstoves laboratory at the Powerhouse Energy Campus working on pathogen eradication using LED lights as a graduate research assistant, and later taught lab courses as a graduate teaching assistant.

But Iman knew he wanted to study rocket propulsion for a master’s thesis project; he has wanted to become an astronaut for as long as he can remember. His research included testing the combustion of metal powders with carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in a hybrid rocket motor – the goal being that one could use natural resources on the planet Mars as propellants in a rocket motor to send samples of rock and soil back to Earth, or use the rocket propulsion to traverse the landscape in search of news areas of interest.

Seth Thompson is a graduate student in the Electric Propulsion & Plasma Engineering Lab.

Seth’s research includes testing the performance electric propulsion thrusters inside vacuum test facilities. The largest test facility is Orion, a 5-ft diameter 15-ft long vacuum chamber that contains a plasma diagnostic suite that evaluates the performance of thrusters used in the propulsion of satellites.

Email Seth if you are interested in learning more about his research. 

We are welcoming new faculty to enhance our offerings in aerospace engineering.

Dr. Karen Thorsett-Hill (a.k.a. “Dr. KTH” or “Dr. Karen”) is an associate professor of practice whose teaching specializations include fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. Dr. Thorsett-Hill joins us from the University of North Carolina—Charlotte, where she founded and mentored the nationally acclaimed NASA USLI Rocketry Team and Club and the student chapter of AIAA.

Contacts

Ellen Plese is an engineering and program management executive with over 30 years of experience designing, building, and operating large rockets. She retired from United Launch Alliance in October 2014 as the General Manager for Human Launch Services and is now the Manager of Strategic Planning and Operations in the CSU Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Ellen is passionate about engineering development and mentoring students and early career professionals. Please reach out to Ellen by phone or through email to receive guidance on pursuing aerospace education, research, and career opportunities.

Undergraduate Academic Advisory Team

Toni-Lee Viney, Manager | Last Names B, tonilee.viney@colostate.edu

Star Sullivan, Last Names C-J, star.sullivan@colostate.edu

Matt MarkhamLast Names K-R, matt.markham@colostate.edu

Angelica Hernandez, Last Names A, S-Z | Int’l Students, angelica.hernandez@colostate.edu

Coursework

Students who complete 12 credit hours (which satisfies the four technical elective degree requirement) from the lists of courses below will earn a concentration in Aerospace Engineering, they can be for a single theme or multiple. Courses in bold are recommended if students have a specific interest in that thematic area.

MECH 4XX or MECH 5XX indicates a course is being developed. The course number is not yet available. For 500-level courses, students must have a 3.0 GPA or instructor approval.

To declare a concentration in Aerospace Engineering, you must have completed MECH 342: Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Flow Processes. Once you have completed this course, please work with your advisor to declare the concentration.

Fluid Flow

  • MECH 460: Aeronautics
  • MECH 480A6: Compressible Flow
  • MECH 507: Laser Diagnostics for Thermosciences
  • MECH 539: Advanced Fluid Mechanics
  • MECH 551: Physical Gas Dynamics
  • MECH 552: Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics

Propulsion

  • MECH 417: Control Systems
  • MECH 468: Space Propulsion & Power Engineering
  • MECH 4XX: Aerospace Propulsion
  • MECH 517: Chemical Rocket Propulsion
  • MECH 557: Turbomachinery
  • MECH 558: Combustion
  • MECH 567: Broad-Beam Ion Sources

Structures

  • MECH 420: Aerospace Structures
  • MECH 425: ME Vibrations
  • MECH 4XX: Advanced Mechanical Design
  • MECH 515: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Vibrations
  • MECH 520: Finite Element Analysis in ME
  • MECH 5XX: Mechanics of Composite Materials

Materials and Manufacturing

  • MECH 502: Advanced / Additive Manufacturing
  • MECH 530: Advanced Composite Materials
  • MECH 531: Materials Engineering
  • MECH 532: Materials Issues and Mechanical Design
  • MECH 533: Composites Product Development
  • MECH 581A9: Processing of Polymer Composites

Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University is about using our knowledge of materials, energy, and health to solve society’s global engineering challenges.

Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University is about using our knowledge of materials, energy, and health to solve society’s global engineering challenges.

Join Us.

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