Barren skies devoid of the comforting hum of aeroplane engines have evoked an eerie sense of emptiness. As the world, forced to reset to a distorted “normal”, battles for its life, one may argue that our future in space has, well, never seemed brighter.
Five-hundred kilometres up in the sky, surrounded by a soundless curtain of onyx and sable, is a man-made star, glinting in the golden hue of the Sun. In the belly of the star, a sight unimaginable. Civilisation. Men and women clad in suits of amber, emerald and ivory, eating and chatting with porcelain utensils clenched in their hands; nothing out of the ordinary.
A girl spreads a rosy towel on the floor, diving into the depths of a temperature-regulated pool, basking in the delicious warmth of the water. Across the corridor, a woman on the stationary bicycle, a cloth dangling midair, dabbing beads of sweat off her forehead on command. A time where lazing under the stars is the absolute past, having learnt to live among them, another freckling in the vast midnight blue blanket of nothing.
A dream ignited over centuries of tribulations, a story woven by a crucial enterprise in our society: the aerospace industry.
December 17, 1903: a moment that revolutionised the aerospace industry. From as early as the 15th century, featuring Da Vinci’s remarkable sketches thus painting the desire for mankind to fly, to the first aviation success in the early 20th century, driven by the Wright brothers, aviation has been ensured in our destiny.
Since the miraculous feat of taking the Kitty Hawk Flyer to the skies, the world sought to develop “heavier than air” crafts, capable of the transportation of not only necessary equipment but even people, with astounding success.
Organisations such as NASA have promised to advance the story of human exploration through the means of science and technology, with the intentions of delivering humanity to the lunar South Pole by 2024.
So, a single question may arise in our minds - what does the future hold for the aerospace industry?
With an ever-rising aggregate of innovative technology and the desire for aeronautical and space development, aerospace engineering is at the frontier of in-demand engineering, ranking second. From the perspective of aspiring aerospace engineers envisioning their fate in this upcoming industry, they will be designing nanosatellites, electric engines and aircraft, and even the ostensibly fictional flying cars.
This sector is nothing short of the eyes to our generation’s tomorrow. With an estimated 6% employment increase in these next 10 years, exponential growth is hoped to follow the steps of this sweeping movement, with rapid advancements warranting high-salary jobs for engineers with “strong technical knowledge of aerospace systems and problem-solving innovative minds”.
It is said that the extensive augmentation of this sector in moulding our community has been so beneficial that is often taken for granted.
2003: the 100th year of aviation. Incomprehensible boundaries have been exposed to the world, starting with the exploration of space, leading to - as one may fathom - freedom of flight in space. As known, worldwide, the aerospace industry has secured our lives, safeguarding us from potential threats by the development of anti-missile systems, and have drastically improved our quality of life by sustaining thorough economic development.
“With a commitment to engineering, scientific and manufacturing expertise, there is the promise of still more innovations and new frontiers,” said Fred Workley from the Commission on the Future of the US Aerospace Industry.
Radical improvements in technology and efficiency bring the glimmering promise of hope: a life in space. With the successful landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars in the recent past, research is pushing us closer to the brink of normal society venturing into space for the first time. The future of this industry places particular focus on climate control, with the prospect of "going green" - an issue that has dominated much of the 21st century, growing ever-more present.
With the ongoing development of the world’s first electrical aeroplanes, this initiative is literally "taking off" with the help of this ingenious sector, says Kirit Saroha, a second-year Aerospace Engineering student at Maryland University, US.
And, as the brilliant Wilbur Wright himself said - “It is not really necessary to look too far into the future, we see enough already to be certain it will be magnificent. Only let us hurry and open roads.”