as·​tro·​nau·​tics ˌa-strə-ˈnȯ-tiks How to pronounce astronautics (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: the science of the construction and operation of vehicles for travel in space beyond the earth's atmosphere
astronautic adjective
or astronautical
astronautically adverb

Examples of astronautics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Such a feat is theoretically possible, according to Olivier L. de Weck, a professor of astronautics and engineering systems at MIT. Jackie Wattles; Video By Milly Chan, CNN, 14 June 2022 Pavone, who is also associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University's School of Engineering, and his students arrived at the idea of a robot with extendable booms. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 1 July 2022 Marcos Berríos, 37, also a US Air Force major, is a test pilot who holds a master's in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 6 Dec. 2021 That’s because airplane engines are designed to operate in the air, says Hamsa Balakrishnan, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT who studies airport operations. Aarian Marshall, Wired, 28 Sep. 2021 The gecko gripper was co-developed with Marco Pavone, Associate Professor of aeronautics and astronautics, at Stanford. Jennifer Kite-Powell, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Technical lectures on basic astronautics, physics, astronomy, propulsion, biophysics, gyroscopic theory and similar highly technical subjects delivered by specialists from the Langley Research Center. Joseph N. Bell, Popular Mechanics, 5 May 2021 Mohan went on to study mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University, followed by a masters degree and doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 19 Feb. 2021 In fact, their pod cannot simply be made bigger to fit passengers, says team captain Philippe Kirschen, a master's student in aeronautics and astronautics. Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, 14 May 2016 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'astronautics.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


astro- + -nautics (in aeronautics), after French astronautique

Note: The word astronautique was introduced by the French aviator and aircraft designer Robert Esnault-Pelterie in "L'exploration par fusées de la très haute atmosphère et la possibilité des voyages interplanétaires," published as a supplement to the March, 1928 issue of L'Astronomie: revue mensuelle d'astronomie … et Bulletin de la Société Astronomique de France, and also as an independent monograph. The word also occurs in an article in the February issue of the journal, "Le 'Prix Rep-Hirsch' et les problèmes de l'astronautique," pp. 57-59. As stated on p. 59, it was coined by the science fiction and fantasy author J.H. Rosny aîné (pen name of Joseph Henri Honoré Boëx, 1856-1940). The occasion was a dinner attended by a group of scientists and aviation enthusiasts, held in Paris on the evening of December 26, 1927, at the conclusion of which a prize was established to be awarded to the best new work in astronautique, a name suggested by Rosny. (For details see Woodford A. Heflin, "Astronautics," American Speech, vol. 36, no. 3 [October, 1961], pp. 169-74.) The word astronautique was rendered in English as astronautics in an unsigned article "Astronautics," in the New York Times (March 8, 1928, p. 24). In the same article the word astronaut is used.

First Known Use

1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of astronautics was in 1928

Dictionary Entries Near astronautics

Cite this Entry

“Astronautics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


as·​tro·​nau·​tics ˌas-trə-ˈnȯt-iks How to pronounce astronautics (audio)
: the science of the construction and operation of spacecraft

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