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Dragon’s four superdraco pods are positioned well for pitch and yaw control, but not for roll control.

So I’m wondering how they’ll control for roll during launch escape—or if they’ll even control for roll in those few seconds the superdracos are firing.

They do carry 16 dracos which would normally provide roll control in space, but would they use them in the thicker atmosphere during launch escape?

They also carry aerodynamic fins which would probably dampen any roll rate the dragon might get during escape. I don’t imagine this would make up for active roll control though?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do they even use the superdracos for that, or do they just use the regular dracos for attitude control? $\endgroup$ – Tristan Apr 22 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I don't know... But the superdracos are hyped as super throttleable (original requirement for powered landing, when they were still considering it), so I don't see why not... Plus, it would be simpler to use just one set of engines instead of two sets of engines, and it would probably remove some failure modes... I don't know exactly what they use for pitch and yaw control, but I know the superdracos could easily easily handle it and I don't see a reason to bring in the dracos into the equation unless you need them for roll control... $\endgroup$ – user39728 Apr 22 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ BTW, early launch escape tests show Dragon rolling without any visible attempt to counter that roll, so it does seem possible they just don't actively control for roll, period... The fins would dampen roll, and maybe a residual roll rate is OK for launch escape? Not sure... $\endgroup$ – user39728 Apr 22 at 20:45

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