2010

Gimballing Spacecraft Thruster

A gimballing spacecraft reaction-control-system thruster was developed that consists of a small hydrogen/oxygen-burning rocket engine integrated with a Canfield joint. (Named after its inventor, a Canfield joint is a special gimbal mount that is strong and stable yet allows a wide range of motion.) One especially notable aspect of the design of this thruster is integration, into both the stationary legs and the moving arms of the Canfield joint, of the passages through which the hydrogen and oxygen flow to the engine. The thruster was assembled and subjected to tests in which the engine was successfully fired both with and without motion in the Canfield joint.

This work was done by Tim Pickens and John Bossard of Orion Propulsion, Inc. for Marshall Space Flight Center. For further information, contact Sammy Nabors, MSFC Commercialization Assistance Lead, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Refer to MFS-32520-1.