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Mission Controlled

Flight Dynamics Officer
Jenny Gruber ('99) designs the
flight plans
that get NASA spacecraft safely back to earth.

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Gruber and her team are responsible for a spacecraft's trajectory on launch, on orbit as it attempts to rendezvous with other spacecraft and on re-entry.

If I had not been at Boston University, I would not have had the opportunities that I had to work for NASA while I was still in college.

Gruber focuses specifically on entries—ensuring the spacecraft hits the atmosphere at the right place and with the right amount of kinetic energy to make its landing site.

As a student at BU, Gruber landed a co-op assignment at NASA. The experience helped her qualify for a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, where she earned a PhD in engineering. She returned to NASA after graduate school and now works full time at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

While she loves her job at Mission Control, Gruber hasn't given up on her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. "I've applied twice," she says. "It usually takes four or five applications before you even get an interview, so I'm on the right track."

Aerospace Engineering

Degrees Offered

What Is Aerospace Engineering?

If it floats, flies, drives or moves in any way, chances are an aerospace engineer had a hand in it. Aerospace engineers are experts in the aerodynamics, controls, propulsion, materials and structures involved in the design and construction of aircraft, high-speed trains, boats, ships and automobiles. Our work contributes to modern life in lots of ways:

  • Improving transportation
  • Launching communications and defense satellites
  • Aiding the search for natural resources
  • Developing advanced military vehicles
  • Allowing exploration of space and other remote regions

What Do Aerospace Engineers Do?

The majority of our graduates work in aerospace-related companies or government facilities, and many pursue graduate school.

Examples of what our alumni are doing:

  • Solving thermal radiation problems for satellites
  • Leading mission control for NASA
  • Designing new igniter systems for space vehicles
  • Running simulations to improve the design of fighter aircraft
  • Providing aerodynamic design and wind tunnel testing for race car manufacturers
  • Developing new train technologies for the U.S. Department of Transportation

Where Do Our Alumni Work?

  • Lockheed Martin
  • Raytheon
  • Boeing
  • Navy Research Labs
  • Space Exploration Technologies
  • GE Aviation

Why Study At BU?

Our Mechanical Engineering Department—the home of our aerospace engineering program—is the perfect size for fostering a real sense of community and for getting personal attention from our distinguished faculty members. We offer access to state-of-the-art study and research facilities, and our graduates have a high placement rate in lucrative jobs and competitive graduate programs. Concentrating in aerospace engineering helps mechanical engineering students focus their learning, providing a specific system to which they can apply the general engineering concepts they're studying. Our students can also gain hands-on experience through the BU Rocket Team and the BU Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team.

What Does BU Offer?

Visit the Mechanical Engineering website for more information.