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Inspired by the discussion on What are the two very large "blue" cylinders attaching to the combustion chamber of each Rutherford Engine? and especially jkavalik's excellent picture of the Merlin engine:

enter image description here

Does the entire Merlin gimbal? On the SSME, the low pressure turbopumps were mounted to the vehicle structure, with flex hoses between them and the high pressure pumps. Only the thrust chamber/nozzle/high pressure pump assembly gimbaled. I can't tell where the interface is on the SpaceX vehicle from this picture.

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    $\begingroup$ I did not source the image properly in that comment as I found it on my phone though Google image search, but as can be seen from the original url, credit goes directly to SpaceX who used it in their "100th Merlin 1D" article. $\endgroup$ – jkavalik May 22 '17 at 17:14
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This image has a better view of the top of the engine:

Merlin 1C diagram

The quadrapod structure is attached rigidly to the rocket. At the bottom of the quadrapod there's a gimbal joint.

The exact structure of this joint is hard to see in photos, but it looks like the joint sits on top of the thrust chamber.

The Merlin 1D structure is more compact, but uses the same principle.

Here's the lower half of a Merlin 1D:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you determine if the turbopump assembly gimbals? From the top left photo I'm inclined to say no but I'm not sure. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 21 '17 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ hard to say, but a flexible joint in a pipe would be easier to secure at low pressure than at the high pressures you find at the output of the turbopump. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes May 21 '17 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ That's kind of the crux of my question, whether the pump gimbals or not. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 21 '17 at 19:23
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According to those at Reddit, Falcon 1.0's vacuum Merlin engine did have gimballing turbopump exhaust for roll control. Maybe looking at how that was set up could help?

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. That would seem to imply that the turbopump exhaust gimballed separately from the main chamber.... $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 25 '17 at 1:54

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