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For 75 years, the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics has been leading innovation in aerospace engineering.

We’ve cultivated discovery-seekers and nurtured explorers. We’ve built facilities with capabilities to deliver unique-in-the-world measurements. We’ve graduated 16 astronauts of Purdue University’s “Cradle” of 25. We’ve grown to world prominence in education and research, establishing a tradition of excellence created by dynamic faculty and students who achieve what few thought was attainable.

And we’re not slowing down.

We are developing a Mach-8 quiet wind tunnel, which will be the first facility of its kind capable of collecting data at speeds greater than Mach 6. We’re creating a research and test facility to explore, develop and test unmanned aerial systems using a state-of-the-art motion-capture system that will be the largest in the world. We’re utilizing the unmatched capabilities at Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories to advance unique propulsion capabilities and more. We’re forging new paths in access to and exploration of space with the Cislunar Initiative.

We continue to solidify our position as one of the world’s top producers of aerospace engineers, graduating students who not only have a firm grasp on engineering fundamentals but have spent years in practical application to best prepare them for professional careers.

We have our hands on the industry’s most important technologies, with alumni positioned at the highest ranks of management within commercial and government entities.

We’re carving firm footholds in every technical area related to aerospace engineering and working to amplify our impact in each, whether it be safe, efficient and sustainable air transportation; exploration of and access to space; maintaining defense and security; or using aerospace to facilitate new opportunities.

That is who we are, explorers, innovators, pioneers, directing the discussion and persistently pursuing innovation. It’s who we’ve been for 75 years and who we’ll continue to be for the next 75 and beyond. This is Purdue AAE.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of becoming a standalone School, this page will highlight incredible achievements and ground-breaking programs of the past, as well as look ahead to the next-generation research being done.

Faculty Profile Series

Kathleen Connor Howell never intended to become a pioneer.

The way her path unfolded, simply, was how it unfolded. Her persistent pursuit wasn’t for notoriety. She wasn’t motivated by publications or awards or committees or research dollars. She always has been fueled by hard problems, by discovering new things, by understanding something.

She didn’t realize she’d be here, nearly 40 years into studying astrodynamics, as a global expert. She certainly didn’t seek any of it. She was just pursuing a passion. And, unintentionally, creating a legacy.

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Impact of AAE

July 1, 1944, I first set foot on the Purdue campus. It was that day that was my first in the Navy, V-12 program at Purdue. I received a great education. I often look back at the many and various courses I took at Purdue and marvel that I have gotten good use out of just about every one - whether I liked it at the time or not. Thank you, Purdue. ” – Jack Willer (BSAE '47)

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