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The Scott Manley video The Only Pilot to Shoot Down A Spacecraft - A Space Ace talks about the ASM-135 ASAT and its successful test launched from an F-15.

He shows images from the page The F-15 ASAT story, by Gregory Karambelas, edited by Sven Grahn and describes the 64 divert motors, which were small solid rockets oriented axially but equipped with right-angle diverts sending the exhaust radially.

According to the linked page:

The guidance of the MV was simple Direct Proportional Line of Sight. The MV had 56 full charge solid propellant rockets arranged around the circumference, and 8 half charge solid rocket motors for a "bang-bang" control system. The 56 motors were called divert motors, and the 8 other ones were supposed to be used in the end game phase of the intercept where the needed positional changes would supposedly be less.

I'm not exactly sure, but I assume these are located around the center of mass of the spacecraft and so could provide a delta-v transverse to the direction the spacecraft is pointed which is not necessarily the direction that it is moving.

Question: Are there any other examples of right-angle exhaust diverters in spacecraft? Is this something that was used frequently, or a special case or one-time use?


screenshot: The Only Pilot to Shoot Down A Spacecraft - A Space Ace screenshot: The Only Pilot to Shoot Down A Spacecraft - A Space Ace

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  • $\begingroup$ I've confused myself about what you're asking. If it's right angle thrust to divert the craft, i.e. "provide a delta-v transverse to the direction the spacecraft is pointed which is not necessarily the direction that it is moving", then that dates back to at least the Gemini OAMS system that could use reaction control both for translation and rotation. $\endgroup$ – Bob Jacobsen Aug 24 '19 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ @BobJacobsen The part you have in quotes is background information only, explaining what is going on in the example. But any system where the thrust is diverted by 90 degrees... oh!, this is one of my "verbal ticks" where I tend to mix up the terms "thrust" and "exhaust". I need to change the question to "right angle exhaust diverters". So anything where the direction of exhaust flow changes by 90 degrees before exiting wold be an answer. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 25 '19 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ Exhaust, but not from an engine: space.stackexchange.com/a/27206/6944 $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 12 '19 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ I’m not sure if there’s a hard distinction to be made between “right angle thrust diverter” and “unusually shaped combustion chamber” for these charges. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Dec 13 '19 at 18:38

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