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Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering behind the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is broken into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The former deals with craft that stay within Earth's atmosphere, and the latter deals with craft that operate outside of Earth's atmosphere.
While aeronautical engineering was the original term, the broader "aerospace" has superseded it in usage, as flight technology advanced to include craft operating in outer space. Aerospace engineering, particularly the astronautics branch, is often informally called rocket science.