Nachtsheim, Philip R. Ames Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Moffett Field, California.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Amount of heating
- Heating rate
- Real-gas effects
- Surface thermal protection
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The forward portion of a spacecraft that is designed for atmospheric entry. Nose cones are utilized for intercontinental ballistic missiles and crewed spacecraft such as Apollo and space shuttles. The nose cone is required to withstand heating encountered during atmospheric entry, maintain the structural integrity of the spacecraft, prevent overheating of the payload and usually maintain the aerodynamic characteristics of the spacecraft. The requirements for a safe entry pose many challenging problems to the designer. Nature provides a dramatic demonstration of the scope of the problem in the form of so-called shooting stars. These bodies are meteoroids which are heated to incandescence as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and which, with few exceptions, destroy themselves prior to Earth impact. See also: Atmospheric entry; Meteor
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