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Elon Musk Adopts Hypersonic Grid Fins, Russians Have a Belly Laugh


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The Russians have been big on grid fins for a while now, e.g. AA-12 Adder, and I think some anti-shipping missile I can't remember (because shooting at airplanes is sexier than shooting at ships).

 

I think grid fins work well at high speeds for the same reason twin tails do on supersonic fighters; the shock waves reach such an angle that the fins/potato masher lines no longer interfere with each other.

 

BUT WE WOULD KNOW FOR SURE IF A REAL AEROSPACE ENGINEER POSTED HERE.

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BUT WE WOULD KNOW FOR SURE IF A REAL AEROSPACE ENGINEER POSTED HERE.

 

I have a degree, but no actual working experience. Nevertheless, I shall try. So far as I know, the main benefit of grid fins (as opposed to normal fins) is that the moments on the control surface are much lower, due to the shorter longitudinal axis of the fins. This means that your control actuators can be smaller, thereby saving weight (a pretty big deal on a launch vehicle).

 

I believe the Soyuz launch abort system also used grid fins. Fakeedit: wiki confirms

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