Jet damping or Thrust damping is the effect of rocket exhaust removing energy from the transverse angular motion of a rocket. If a rocket has pitch or yaw motion then the exhaust must be accelerated laterally as it flows down the exhaust tube and nozzle. Once the exhaust leaves the nozzle this lateral momentum is lost to the vehicle and thus serves to damping the lateral oscillations. The jet damping is stabilizing as long as the distance from the instantaneous spacecraft center of mass to the nozzle exit plane exceeds the instantaneous transverse radius of gyration. Most configurations meet this criteria and the jet damping is dynamic stabilizing effect. The jet damping torque rotates at nutation frequency in the spacecraft frame.
Jozef C. van der Ha and Frank L. Janssens; JET DAMPING and MISALIGNMENT EFFECTS during SOLID ROCKET MOTOR BURNAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit,11 - 14 August 2003, Austin, Texas
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