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Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 9 years ago

Why do spaceships not burn up when they re-enter the atmosphere?

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The space craft have ablative ceramic heat shields.

    "...Science Dictionary

    ablation (ā-blā'shən) Pronunciation Key

    The wearing away or destruction of the outer or forward surface of an object, such as a meteorite or a spacecraft, as it moves very rapidly through the atmosphere. The friction of the air striking the object heats and often melts or burns its outer layers. Spacecraft and missiles are often equipped with heat shields designed to wear away by ablation in order to prevent heat from building up in structurally important parts.

    The process by which snow and ice are removed from a glacier or other mass of ice. Ablation typically occurs through melting, sublimation, wind erosion, or calving. ◇ The ablation zone is the area of a glacier that has the lowest elevation, where annual water loss is greater than the annual accumulation of snow.

    The American Heritage® Science Dictionary

    Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

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  • 9 years ago

    They have heat shields. Remember the Columbia shuttle disaster? That's what happens when there's even a tiny hole in the heat shields.

    We do know how to make things to survive high heat, for instance the buckets that hold molten iron.

  • 9 years ago

    the shuttle has a special material on the nose which negates the effects of heat and friction.

    Source(s): shuttle
  • Paul B
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Because they have been designed to withstand the pressure

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Some do, some don't

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