Astronautics is the art or science of designing, building, and operating space vehicles (satellites, probes, and manned spaceships) for space exploration and applications.Astronautics includes space mission design; spacecraft design and space operations; rocket vehicle design; rocket propulsion; orbital mechanics; spacecraft dynamics and control; space navigation; space science; space environment; space instrumentation and sensors; and numerous other areas of space technology.
Astronautics provides the foundation for space exploration and national security and civilian applications such as space science missions; missions to the Moon and planets; manned space-flight; satellite communications; direct television broadcasting; global positioning and navigation systems; weather monitoring; space imaging; remote sensing; space reconnaissance; early detection of ballistic missile launches; verification of non-proliferation treaties; missile defense systems; and many others.
In order to position the USC Viterbi School of Engineering to take full advantage of rapidly growing opportunities in space, I am today announcing the creation of a new Astronautics and Space Technology Division. ... Space technology and astronautics has recently re-emerged as an important sector of economic and engineering activity not only in the Southern California economy but also in the nation as a whole. Both national security applications and space exploration are driving this resurgence. However, recent congressional studies have warned of a looming shortage of engineers in this area.ASTE concentrates on meeting the educational and research needs of the space and defense industries, government research and development centers, and academia.
-- Dean Max Nikias of the Viterbi School, in announcing the creation of ASTE (13 August 2004)