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Restructuring the Aero/Astro Engineering Degree at MIT. Eric Feron Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics July 17, 2000. Outline. Aero-Astro System Engineering Degrees at MIT Meng Program

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restructuring the aero astro engineering degree at mit

Restructuring the Aero/Astro Engineering Degree at MIT

Eric Feron

Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

July 17, 2000

  • Aero-Astro System Engineering Degrees at MIT
  • Meng Program
  • Conceive, Design, Integrate, Operate (CDIO initiative)
  • Conclusions
system engineering degrees in aero astro
System Engineering Degrees in Aero/Astro
  • Undergraduate Education:Significant evolution of teaching curriculum to account for System Engineering reality in aerospace industry
  • Graduate Education:
    • Meng Program: A relatively new graduate program (1995) for non-research education.
    • SDM: An Aero-Astro-led, MIT-wide program in systems Engineering for “mature” students.
  • General “feeling” that Aero-Astro is uniquely qualified for true Systems Engineering education.
meng program definition from the mit bulletin
Meng Program Definition(From the MIT Bulletin)

“Students pursuing a master's program in the department have two options for structuring their studies:

The Master of Science (S.M.) program typically focuses on a single discipline, providing considerable depth as well as an emphasis on research.

The complementary Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program is for individuals planning engineering careers in aerospace product design and development. This practice-oriented, professional degree program relies on many aerospace industry companies for speakers, study materials, and project reviews related to student projects.”

meng program pre requisites
Meng Program Pre-requisites
  • Prequisites:
    • Applicants should complete an accredited undergraduate aerospace engineering program.
    • Well-qualified students with non-aerospace backgrounds may also apply.
  • Not a fifth year degree (unlike, eg. Electrical Engineering degree).
    • Students come in part from MIT, but mostly from other institutions. Ideal for 9-month or 1-year grad students - 2 years possible.
meng program specifics
Meng Program specifics
  • Emphasis on Aerospace Systems Engineering:
    • Required courses:
      • 16.870 Aerospace Product Design (Fall)
      • 16.871 Aerospace Product Design Tools (Winter/IAP)
      • 16.872 Aerospace Design Project + 12 Unit thesis(Spring)
    • Other courses:
      • Math requ’t - Other courses with general system engineering flavor (eg introduction to optimization & decision analysis
      • 4 Other disciplinary Aero & Astro courses
    • New feature: CDIO project requires 24 units thesis - lighter course load.
aerospace systems engineering
Aerospace Systems Engineering
  • “Methods and means used to address the unique complexity of aerospace products. Requirements analysis, [..] design trade techniques, and process structuring [..] for [..] integrated product-process development. Experience with structured creative synthesis approaches [..]. Foundational engineering (technical) management activities [..]. Teamworking skills are refined in group problem sets.[].”
  • “Computer-based tools that support the design and development of complex aerospace products [..]. Numerical Design Structure Matrix refinement improves process information flows and reduces design-development cycle time. Discrete Event Simulations evaluate system/product behavior prior to making hardware and software design allocation decisions. StereoLithography (Rapid Prototyping), [..] generates preliminary manufactured hardware parts [..].”
  • “[..] M.Eng. Design Project and Thesis: Multi-disciplinary student teams (3-6 students per team) [..] focus on design projects recommended by industry and faculty. Projects address aircraft, spacecraft, or aerospace product subsystem design requirements. Student-prepared design review presentations are scheduled at several points during the Spring Semester. [..]”
supporting the meng program
Supporting the Meng program
  • Students support:
    • Self: Organization (domestic or foreign) sends individual students for 1 year of grad study. eg: USAF, Foreign Gov't.
    • Departmental fellowships: Department offers 1-year fellowship to best applicants, regardless of degree sought.
    • Sponsored projects: Specific projects may need significant system engineering component, eg Draper Laboratory sponsored small surveillance projectile.
    • Current enrollment in the 20’s/year.
project example draper mit wasp
Project example: Draper-MIT WASP

The main goals of the project are: to develop entrepreneurship among engineering students to demonstrate brand-new technology that meets US military and civilian needs.

wasp project
WASP project
  • Student-designed project under faculty supervision (Deyst & Boppe)
  • 2-year project with 1-year students: Mix with MS and PhD students.
  • Asymmetry of student projects from year 1 to year 2:
    • Year 1 concentrates on concept study - blueprints
    • Year 2 concentrates on product manufacturing & flight testing.
  • A very successful project: Many faculty involved, Draper follow-up under DARPA sponsorship: New versions of vehicle (weight/structure trade-off).
typical curricula
Typical Curricula
  • Jerry W.:
    • 1995-97: Meng with industrial/research support (Boeing - NASA Dryden)
    • 1997-99: PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics (MIT)
  • Cory H.:
    • 1996-97: Meng with research support (Draper)
    • 1997-now: Project engineer for new department bdg + MS in Technology and Policy
  • Sebastien K.:
    • 1997-98: Meng with Research Support (Draper)
    • Started up company
  • Anne F.:
    • 1997-98: Meng -self supported (Foreign Gov’t)
new developments cdio
New developments: CDIO
  • CDIO: Conceive Design Integrate Operate.
  • A Department-wide (faculty- and degree-wise) towards better integration of above principles into academic curriculum: Shift Undergraduate Education from Engineering science-oriented education to Engineering design-oriented education.
  • Teach engineering courses in the context of their application
    • Revise/develop course contents and teaching context.
    • Interrelate courses through continuing projects.
    • Develop and modernize teaching laboratories.

Bdg 33

  • MIT Infrastructures:
  • Overall new building
  • architecture
  • (Exploded view)

Bdg 35

Mass Ave


Complex Systems

Operations Center

attributes for successful meng student
Attributes for successful Meng Student
  • Self-supported/Fellowship or…
  • Sponsored research: Requires excessively well-trained engineering students in a particular discipline (structures, circuits, programming). 1 year is very short - need to leverage capabilities immediately.
    • Good mix with longer term students (MS or PhD students) for project continuity.
    • Indeed can be instrumental to successful projects - often research needs go against Meng goal (systems engineering).