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The work of a mechanical engineer begins with research and development. A private aerospace company, for example, may need to develop a more fuel-efficient aircraft engine, or engineers employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) may be asked to create a cooling and heating system for a space exploration vehicle. A mechanical engineer working in the research department explores the project's theoretical, mechanical, and material challenges. The engineer may perform experiments to gather necessary data and acquire new knowledge. Often, an experimental device, such as a flight demonstrator, or system is developed. A mechanical engineer may be assigned to oversee the design, development, and testing of the flight demonstrator, which will test and validate various technologies during orbital flight, reentry, and landing of the space vehicle or other vehicles or technologies.
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