Atmospheric reentry/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Atmospheric reentry.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.
  • Martin, John J. (1966). Atmospheric Entry - An Introduction to Its Science and Engineering. Old Tappan, NJ: Prentice-Hall. [1]
  • Regan, Frank J. (1984). Re-Entry Vehicle Dynamics (AIAA Education Series). New York: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.. ISBN 0-915928-78-7. [2]
  • Etkin, Bernard (1972). Dynamics of Atmospheric Flight. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0-471-24620-4. [3]
  • Vincenti, Walter G.; Kruger, Jr., Charles H. (1986). Introduction to Physical Gas Dynamics. Malabar, Florida: Robert E.Krieger Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-88275-309-6. [4]
  • Hansen, C. Frederick (1976). Molecular Physics of Equilibrium Gases, A Handbook for Engineers. NASA. NASA SP-3096. [5]
  • Hayes, Wallace D.; Probstein, Ronald F. (1959). Hypersonic Flow Theory. New York and London: Academic Press.  A revised version of this classic text has been reissued as an inexpensive paperback: Hayes, Wallace D. (1966, reissued in 2004). Hypersonic Inviscid Flow. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-43281-5. 
  • Anderson, Jr., John D. (1989). Hypersonic and High Temperature Gas Dynamics. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.. ISBN 0-07-001671-2. 


  1. John J. Martin's book was the first and arguably the best in the open literature about designing reentry vehicles. In his book, Martin showed an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge. Unfortunately, this book has been out-of-print for decades but is sometimes available second hand through the Internet.
  2. "Dynamics of Atmospheric Re-Entry" by Frank J. Regan and Satya M. Anandakrishnan is a revision of Regan's earlier book, "Re-Entry Vehicle Dynamics". Unfortunately Chapter 10 of "Re-Entry Vehicle Dynamics" was deleted when the book was revised into the newer version. Chapter 10, titled "Moment Equations in Constant Density Atmosphere" concerned the subjects of entry vehicle roll resonance and tricyclic theory. "Re-Entry Vehicle Dynamics" has been out-of-print for years and currently no used copies are listed on the Internet. If you find a second-hand copy of "Re-Entry Vehicle Dynamics", buy it (it's a very rare book). Should you find "Re-Entry Vehicle Dynamics" in a library, photocopy Chapter 10. Despite the omissions from the earlier version, "Dynamics of Atmospheric Re-Entry" is a very useful book and still in print, though very expensive (current list price of $105.95).
  3. Classical 6-DoF theory for aircraft assumes a flat Earth with constant atmospheric density in an inertial frame. Consequently classical 6-DoF theory should not be used for simulating hypersonic atmospheric flight that lasts for several minutes. Classical 6-DoF for hypersonic flight is approximately correct only for a few seconds, e.g. stability analysis for a time discrete event. Etkin's treatment of 6-DoF theory in "Dynamics of Atmospheric Flight" was unusual in being sufficiently general that it touched upon hypersonic flight.
  4. "Introduction to Physical Gas Dynamics" by Vincenti and Kruger is widely used for graduate course work in real gas physics. The book provides an excellent introduction into non-equilibrium gas physics and describes the Lighthill-Freeman model in detail. Most university bookstores offer Vincenti and Kruger for sale (it's a very common book).
  5. Frederick Hansen's NASA SP-3096 is arguably one of the best introductory texts on equilibrium thermodynamics and was written specifically for aeronautical engineers doing entry vehicle work. The partition functions listed in NASA SP-3096 are inaccurate (use the polynomial fits from the Gordon and McBride code, CEA). NASA SP-3096 can sometimes be found used and is in US government document libraries. NASA SP-3096 is worth the trouble of photocopying (it's in the public domain).