Safe Re-Entry of Spacecraft

1153 Words Feb 4th, 2018 5 Pages
The Apollo spacecraft returning from the moon, the US space shuttle and the Russian Vostok spacecraft are examples of spacecraft which have successfully addressed these issues, and have safely returned to Earth.
Re-entry of spacecraft begins with astronauts usually retro firing their spacecraft’s rockets where they position rockets to point ahead of themselves and execute a short burn that will slow down the spacecraft, allowing it to drop down into the atmosphere into an elliptical orbit at an altitude of about 100 kilometres. The time, direction and duration of the burn must be controlled carefully to achieve an optimum re-entry angle. The trajectory on re-entry into the atmosphere must be at precisely a correct angle that is specific to the velocity of the spacecraft involved. The re-entry angle must be chosen carefully as it also affects the space-crafts heat build-up and ionisation black-put period. If the spacecraft enters too steeply, it enters the atmosphere too fast, penetrating to the deeper denser layers before slowing, increasing the heat built up and the spacecraft may burn up due to the heat. The high g-forces experienced in such an entry could also destroy the spacecraft and injure the passengers. If the angle of re-entry is too shallow, the spacecraft may ‘bounce’ or ‘skip’ off the…
Open Document