United States Air Force Academy

Go to home page
Engineering Division


Cadets learn the fundamentals of satellites, rockets, and other space systems as well as how to design them to contribute to our national security and economy. This experience is enhanced by senior capstone projects and independent and sponsored research opportunities with a variety of government and industry partners.


In 1958, the same year NASA was formed, the Department of Astronautics was established at the United States Air Force Academy. Our cadets are rocket scientists, and our motto is ‘Learning Space by Doing Space.’ We have designed, built, and launched rockets to the edge of space. We have designed and built satellites that are currently in Earth orbit and are fully funded by Air Force Research Laboratory to do the same with two more satellites over the next three years. Our cadets, from fourth year to first year, operate our ground station, controlling satellites that contribute to our national security and our understanding of the space environment. Our graduates are now conducting space-related research, acquiring our next generation of space systems, and operating our current space assets in defense of the nation.

Our program is the best in the country, as the #1 Aeronautical / Astronautical program on the 2017 U.S. News Best Colleges list.


Astronautical Engineering

Systems Engineering – Astronautics Depth

The Astronautical Engineering and Systems Engineering majors are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

Department News News From Around The Department

May 5, 2017

From ‘dorm to swarm’: Academy cadets compete in UAS competition

By Ray Bowden/May 5, 2017 U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy took second place to the Naval Academy at the DARPA-sponsored unmanned aerial systems Swarm Competition, April 23-25 at Camp Roberts, California. Cadets and midshipmen from the Air Force Academy, the Military Academy, and the Naval Academy, battled each other using 20 fixed-wing and 20 quad-rotor small unmanned aerial vehicles to protect a target or “flag” on the ground during two 30-minute battles. “Air Force was ahead until the final few minutes but was barely edged-out by Navy,” said Del Christman, an assistant computer science professor at...

Continue Reading From ‘dorm to swarm’: Academy cadets compete in UAS competition

May 2, 2017

Cadets showcase FalconSAT program at end-of-semester review

Ray Bowden/May 2, 2017 Cadets gave an end-of-semester review on the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Satellite Program to faculty and the school’s space-community partners April 28. The FalconSAT program is the Academy’s small-satellite engineering program. Cadets’ design, built, test and operate satellites, guided by faculty and technical-staff as part of a year-long senior capstone design experience. The program is administered by the Academy’s Space Systems Research Center under the direction of the Astronautics Department. Col. Martin France, head of the Academy’s Astronautics Department, said the review served several purposes. “The cadets get the opportunity to hone their briefing skills in...

Continue Reading Cadets showcase FalconSAT program at end-of-semester review

See All News

2354 Fairchild Drive, Suite 6H-225
United States Air Force Academy, CO 80840
(719) 333-4110 | DSN 333-4110