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What's the reason why we don't let the spacecraft enter the atmosphere at a low angle, thus decreasing the vertical velocity and minimizing the crash-landing risks? If the speed and atmosphere density is right, some kind of wings could even provide a lift, thus giving a way to control the flight.

Is is because the speed loss at the higher levels of atmosphere is too significant and the craft will have too high vertical velocity when the speed and atmosphere density conditions allow using anything that resembles a wing?


marked as duplicate by Russell Borogove, Organic Marble, Nathan Tuggy, 1337joe, James Jenkins Nov 22 '16 at 2:13

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    $\begingroup$ A low angle of entry causes a slightly lower maximum temperature for a significantly longer duration. The end result is a higher overall heat load the craft needs to dissipate to avoid melting / burning up. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Thompson Nov 22 '16 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ Depending on the atmosphere, you also significantly increase the risk of an atmospheric skip. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Nov 24 '16 at 9:07

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