Are there any satellite thrusters that mimic the "thrust reversal" feature of airplanes i.e. (A320...). I already know of procedures to decelerate a satellite such as using two separate thrusters firing in opposite directions however a single thruster would be far more economical -encorporating the thrust reversal.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can't satellites just flip 180°? An airplane can't because of aerodynamics reasons. $\endgroup$
    – fibonatic
    Jan 21, 2019 at 15:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Better on Space stack? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 21, 2019 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @fibonatic Has it right. It’s easiest to just rotate the spacecraft. $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Jan 21, 2019 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ Sorta - EXTENDABLE THRUSTER MODULE ASSEMBLY / DEPLOYABLE POINTING SYSTEM. Reversing buckets would be hard on the sheet metal, which is mostly about like aluminum foil. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Jan 21, 2019 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ @fibonatic - Not if they are a comsat. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Jan 21, 2019 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


Satellites use a variety of systems to control their exact position in orbit. Some are tiny rockets, others take advantage of earth's magnetic field. Some are passive control, some active. Vernier thrusters

All the methods are obviously extremely lightweight,( solar panels are thin as paper), to the extent they will fail in earth atmosphere conditions.

Airplane thrust reversers function relaying on the atmosphere pressure and the fact that the exhaust of the jet engine when redirected will create a large cone of wake acting like parachute with an impact zone much greater than just the discharge flow of jet engine.

In the vacuum of space this advantage is not available and the additional weigh of the heavy structures will be an extra burden


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