I’m thinking about the use of single toroidal aerospike engine for a reusable upper stage with propulsive landing capability and this question came to mind. Do aerospike nozzles even capable of retro propulsion inside atmosphere? If so, how do they perform compared to bell nozzles. Are there any materials I can read regarding this topic? Thanks.

  • $\begingroup$ Is there any difference in their performance for retro-propulsion and liftoff propulsion? $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '20 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ Well.. for propulsive landing, I suppose there would be moderate or deep throttling capability.. $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '20 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, can you try to limit a given post to one question? You could also provide some backup information -- for example, I don't know off the top of my head whether an aerospike can do direct propulsion inside atmosphere, or retro outside atmosphere. The more you can put bounds on the question, the easier it is to get the correct answer. $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '20 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Organic Marble Yes....but if we fire the engine in opposite direction to the air flow, does that change the interaction between the expanding engine plume and the pushing ambient air flow because now they are at opposite direction? And if we throttle the engine down to ~25%, does the reduced mass flow from the engine make that worse? $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '20 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft Sorry if there are so many questions, I just want to ask "how aerospike nozzles would perform if we fire those engines in opposite direction to the air flow inside the atmosphere, like the SpaceX Merlin engines do". $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '20 at 16:00

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