Engineering in the 21st centuryA description is presented of the nature of the aerospace technology system that might be expected by the 21st century from a reasonable evolution of the current resources and capabilities. An aerospace employment outlook is provided. The years 1977 and 1978 seem to be marking the beginning of a period of stability and moderate growth in the aerospace industry. Aerospace research and development employment increased to 70,000 in 1977 and is now occupying a near-constant 18% share of the total research and development work force. The changing job environment is considered along with the future of aerospace education. It is found that one trend is toward a more interdisciplinary education. Most trend setters in engineering education recognize that the really challenging engineering problems invariably require the judicious exercise of several disciplines for their solution. Some future trends in aerospace technology are discussed. By the year 2000 space technology will have achieved major advances in four areas, including management of information, transportation, space structures, and energy.
Mccarthy, J. F., Jr. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, Ohio, United States)