MECO (main engine cutoff)

MECO (main engine cutoff) is the time at which the main engines of a launch vehicle, or launch vehicle stage, are commanded to stop firing. MECO typically involves a sequence of events, including throttling back the engines before actual cutoff. For example, the MECO sequence for the Space Shuttle began about 10 seconds before cutoff. About three seconds later, the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) were commanded to begin throttling back at intervals of 10% thrust per second until they reached a thrust of 65% of rated power, called minimum power. Minimum power was maintained for just under seven seconds, then the SSMEs shut down.