A POSSIBLE COMPROMISE BETWEEN ROCKET AND ATMOSPHERIC BRAKING.
Scientific rept. no. 3,
TRAINING CENTER FOR EXPERIMENTAL AERODYNAMICS RHODE-SAINT-GENESE (BELGIUM)
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An attempt was made to optimize the problem of recovering an interplanetary vehicle through the earths atmosphere. Optimum conditions are defined as the ones which would minimize the dead weight, which includes the fuel required for eventual rocket braking outside the atmosphere, and the mass which is ablated for heat protection during the flight into the atmosphere. It is shown that when chemical or nuclear propulsion is considered, pure atmospheric braking is always the best solution, but when electrical propulsion can be used, an optimum compromise between partial rocket and atmospheric braking may exist, depending upon the respective qualities of the propulsion system and ablating material. Author