How do space-going rockets maintain the “straight upward” angle?



How do space-going rockets maintain the “straight upward” angle?

In: Engineering

Generally either the big rocket on the bottom can turn itself to spin the craft, or there are small thrusters in other places to push it. Fins help keep it facing in the direction it’s moving.

There are little rockets and fins to make minor course corrections as they go up. Stabilizers

Modern rocket engines (the nozzles specifically) have the ability to move or gimbal. This allows for minor corrections in the rocket’s trajectory. Rocket control thrusters can also help but aren’t typically used when the main engines are lit.

However, the upward angle is rather short lived. Most of the time during launch is actually spent going sideways to achieve orbit.

For some good footage of rocket engine gimbal, watch some of SpaceX’s launch and landings. You can see where the nozzles of the Merlin, and now Raptor, engines move to adjust the rocket’s trajectory.