Date: August 25, 1953
Creator: Allen, H. Julian & Eggers, A. J., Jr.
Description: A simplified analysis is made of the velocity and deceleration history of missiles entering the earth's atmosphere at high supersonic speeds. It is found that, in general, the gravity force is negligible compared to the aerodynamic drag force and, hence, that the trajectory is essentially a straight line. A constant drag coefficient and an exponential variation of density with altitude are assumed and generalized curves for the variation of missile speed and deceleration with altitude are obtained. A curious finding is that the maximum deceleration is independent of physical characteristics of a missile (e.g., mass, size, and drag coefficient) and is determined only by entry speed and flight-path angle, provided this deceleration occurs before impact. This provision is satisfied by missiles presently of more usual interest.
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