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?

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe it's to protect the nozzles from space debris. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2014 at 13:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could also be to protect the space station's environment from leaking oxidizer. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2014 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ would be a micrometeorite cover. $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2014 at 4:12

1 Answer 1


It's to protect the engine from the low temperature. The cover is removed before the deorbit burn:

(Source: Kosmonavtika)

$\rightarrow$ 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.


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