Definitions

vernier-rocket

Vernier thruster

A vernier thruster is a thruster used on a spacecraft for attitude control. It is a smaller thrust motor than main attitude control motors and is used for fine adjustments to the attitude or velocity of a spacecraft. A vernier rocket is a smaller rocket engine used for attitude control in conjunction with a larger spacecraft propulsion engine.

Vernier thrusters are used when spacecraft control requirements, such as maneuvering during docking with other spacecraft, dictate a wide range of different thrust levels for attitude or velocity control. Main attitude control thrusters are used for larger movements, verniers for minor adjustments.

As an alternative, larger thrusters which can fire for very short durations or pulses may be fitted instead.

The space shuttle's reaction control system has 6 Vernier engines or thrusters.

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