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aerospace industry

assemblage of manufacturing concerns that deal with vehicular flight within and beyond the Earth's atmosphere. (The term aerospace is derived from the words aeronautics and spaceflight.) The aerospace industry is engaged in the research, development, and manufacture of flight vehicles, including unpowered gliders and sailplanes (see gliding), lighter-than-air craft (see balloon and airship), heavier-than-air craft (both fixed-wing and rotary-wing; see airplane and military aircraft), missiles (see rocket and missile system), space launch vehicles, and spacecraft (manned and unmanned). Also included among its concerns are major flight-vehicle subsystems such as propulsion and avionics (aviation electronics) and key support systems necessary for the testing, operation, and maintenance of flight vehicles. In addition, the industry is engaged in the fabrication of nonaerospace products and systems that make use of aerospace technology.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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