Bolonkin, Alexander Alexandrovich
January 26, 2014
Atmospheric reentry, Space Shuttle, thermal protection of space craft, parachute braking
Currently reentry of USA Space Shuttles and Command Module of Lunar Ships burns a great deal of fuel to reduce reentry speed because the temperatures are too high for atmospheric braking by conventional fiber parachutes. Recently high-temperature fiber and whiskers have been produced which could be employed in a new control rectangle parachute to create the negative lift force required. Though it is not large, a light parachute decreases Shuttle speed from 8 km/s (Shuttle) and 11 km/s (Apollo Command Module) up to 1 km/s and Space Ship heat flow by 3 - 4 times (not over the given temperature). The parachute surface is opened with backside so that it can emit the heat radiation efficiently to Earth-atmosphere. The temperature of parachute is about 600-1500o C. The carbon fiber is able to keep its functionality up to a temperature of 1500-2000o C. There is no conceivable problem to manufacture the parachute from carbon fiber. The proposed new method of braking may be applied to the old Space Ship as well as to newer spacecraft designs.