The altitude and speed is shown in the web casts of Falcon 9 missions. Is it possible to estimate the angle of attack or flight path angle?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The angle of attack is the angle between the axis and air flow, for rockets this should always be almost zero. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 5, 2022 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD: The Falcon 9 first stage spends several minutes almost "gliding" at a surprisingly low AoA covering a surprisingly large cross range distance. This is done both to decrease heat loads but for RTLS landings also to decrease fuel required for the boost back burn. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2022 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't considering the fly-back part of the profile when I wrote that comment @JörgWMittag, good point. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 6, 2022 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ Right at liftoff the alpha is 90 degrees if there is any wind. A fun fact I noticed back in the day when looking at shuttle data. $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2022 at 13:24


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