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History

The forerunner of the Aeronautics and astronautics Course, the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, was established on March 27, 1942, during World War Two. With two courses then placed within the Department of Mechanical Engineering as nucleus, the new Department started with three courses and the maximum number of students set at 35 on April 16 of the same year. Two courses were added on July 27, 1943, and another on November 23, 1943. On September 22, 1944, the Department produced its first graduates.

A short while after the end of the war, by an order of the Allied Forces, Japan was prohibited from manufacturing and conducting research into aircraft, leading to the closure of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering on January 9, 1946. It was replaced by the newly opened Department of Applied Physics, comprised of four courses. Throughout the period of post-war confusion and under the new university system taking effect on January 31, 1949, the Department of Applied Physics actively pursued education and research as the new department of the post-war Faculty of Engineering, taking the lead in fundamental engineering education and research. Graduates from the Department of Applied Physics also started attracting societal attention.

On September 8, 1951, San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed, and the ban on aircraft manufacturing and research was lifted. On April 1, 1955, the Department of Aeronautical Engineering was reopened. In 1958, the maximum number of students was set at 20. On April 1, 1964, the Department's Courses 1 to 6 were renamed Fluid dynamics Course, Aerodynamics Course, Propulsion Engineering Course, Strength of Structure Course, Engineering Vibration Course and Aircraft Structure Course. Later, responding to a demographic upturn, supplementary entrance applications were exceptionally accepted, with the maximum number of students set at 25 for Academic Year 1986 and thereafter.

On June 24, 1994, as emphasis in education and research shifted from undergraduate to postgraduate levels, the Department of Aeronautical Engineering was reorganized and renamed the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics of the Graduate School of Engineering, and the postgraduate course of Dynamics related to Aeronautics and Astronautics was newly established. Teaching faculty members previously belonging to the Department of Aeronautical Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering were entirely transferred to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics of the Graduate School of Engineering. Moreover, the Department of Aeronautical Engineering was integrated into the newly established School of Engineering Science and reopened as the Aeronautics and Astronautics Course. The number of students admitted was later reduced, and the maximum number of students was once again set at 20 for Academic Year 2002 and thereafter.

The pre-war Department of Aeronautical Engineering produced two classes of graduates, and the post-war Department of Applied Physics produced 14 classes of graduates from 1946 to 1958. More graduates have been produced by the Department of Aeronautical Engineering after it reopened in 1959 and by the Aeronautics and Astronautics Course of the School of Engineering Science since 1997. The total number of graduates reaches well over 1,200 thus far. The graduates' domains of professional activity are roughly equally divided between aerospace engineering and other areas.