Rockets 101 – How to turn during flight

Outstanding control is what distinguishes a toy rocket from a real one. And it is of quintessence to be able to channel the rocket’s direction. In the case of a NASA launch, failure can mean hundreds of millions and years of work down the drain. In the most extreme, it can mean the difference between life and death. To be able to fly is cool, but what’s cooler is being able to pinpoint the destination and the trajectory of a rocket or shuttle.

In most modern rockets, this is accomplished by a system known as Gimbaled Thrust.


In a Gimbaled thrust system, the exhaust nozzle of the rocket can be swiveled from side to side. As the nozzle is moved, the direction of the thrust is changed relative to the center of gravity of the rocket and a torque is generated.

As a result, the rocket changes direction. After necessary corrections are made, the exhaust nozzle is brought back to its initial state.



The angle by which the rocket’s nozzle swivels is known as the Gimbaled Angle.

Up, Up and Away!



PC: NASA, learnengineering, achingtentacles,campnavigator

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