A meteoroid impact on an engine bell can easily rupture a coolant pipe. Or it can create an imperfection in the backing plate from where cracks can form. Or it can destroy an injector. All of these can be fatal.

Yet by design, the interior of an engine bell cannot have a micrometeoroid shield. So how do spacecraft such as the Shuttle, Soyuz, and other manned and unmanned spacecraft protect the interior faces of the engines, main or otherwise?

It does seem to be that the Shuttle pointed the main engines at Earth, and the Soyuz has a lid. Are these protective measures?

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    $\begingroup$ You're wrong about the shuttle. They were more concerned about the TPS than the main engines. At the end of the program, when not docked or using a different attitude for some specific reason, shuttle mostly flew in -ZLV -XVV attitude, which means the -X axis (out of the tail) was pointed in the direction of motion, to protect the nose cap. You can see the attitude callouts in the flight plan here nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/567071main_FLT_PLN_135_F.pdf and the axes are defined: web.archive.org/web/20111026205414/www-lite.larc.nasa.gov/… $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2023 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ The main engines did not deorbit the Shuttle. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jun 12, 2023 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn the OMS did. And the OMS would have the same problems $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2023 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Abdullah the OMS never failed. Ipso facto, they didn't have the same problems. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jun 12, 2023 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Steve it doesn't matter whether it's firing or not if it will from re before repairs are conducted, which is usually true. $\endgroup$ Jun 25, 2023 at 1:03


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