# Why does the Soyuz cover its main engine?

As seen in Gravity, and also in this youtube video:

, the Soyuz main engine is covered by a metal plate that it mechanically moved out of the way before firing. What is the function of this covering?

• Maybe it's to protect the nozzles from space debris. Sep 22, 2014 at 13:09
• Could also be to protect the space station's environment from leaking oxidizer. Sep 22, 2014 at 13:36
• would be a micrometeorite cover. Dec 11, 2014 at 4:12

$\rightarrow$ During mission Soyuz-32 in 1979, the cosmonauts forgot to open the cover before firing the SKD docked to Salyut-6 space station. This was a test burn. The cover was destroyed, and the engines left unprotected. As a protective measure, the station was reoriented so that the Soyuz temperature variations were limited.