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PSX 20171218 014519

An Orion Crew Capsule during the early stages of re-entry. The white plume of its maneuvering thrusters can be seen as they fire sideways, to re-align the capsule's orientation during its descent.

Atmospheric entry occurs when a spacecraft enters the atmosphere of a planet, such as HOM; for the purpose of a splash-down landing in a body of water or other liquid. Successful entry can only be performed with the following spacecraft:

The planets that can be entered and splashed down on are HOM, GRN, GOL, KAT and EMA.

During atmospheric entry, the capsule will experience turbulence, caused by the capsule descending into thicker atmosphere at extreme velocity. This causes it to pitch upside down, which turns the protective heat shield away from the passing airflow. If the capsule's heat shield is turned to one side for too long, the capsule will overheat and explode.

Trivia

  • In actual atmospheric entry spacecraft, the capsule's mass is situated so its center of gravity is very low in the capsule; which assists in keeping the heat shield facing down so it will protect the capsule. Typically, the bottoms of space capsules are curved, which also aids in keeping the capsule oriented upright during the descent of atmospheric entry.