The mechanical engineer's function is to apply science and technology to the design, analysis, development, manufacture and use of machines that convert and transmit energy, and to apply energy to the completion of useful operations. When asked to select the top 20 engineering accomplishments of the 20th century, the millennium committee of the National Academy of Engineering cited numerous examples related to mechanical engineering: electrification (large scale power generation and distribution); automobiles; air travel (development of aircraft and propulsion); mechanized agriculture; and refrigeration and air conditioning.
The field of aerospace engineering has grown dramatically with the rapid development of the computer in experiments, design and numerical analysis. Aerospace engineers are engaged in programs to develop reusable launch vehicles, the International Space Station, high-speed transport, human exploration and development of space, and microelectromechanical sensors and control systems for advanced flight. The wealth of scientific information developed as a result of aerospace activity forms the foundation for the aerospace engineering program.