- a coating or structure that surrounds part of the nose cone or other vulnerable surfaces of a spacecraft and, by heat absorption or ablation, protects them from excessive heating during reentry.
Origin of heat shield
First recorded in 1955–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for heat shield
Up next: heat-shield separation and radar acquisition of the ground.Curiosity’s Mars Landing Narrated Moment by Moment by Flight Director Keith Comeaux
August 7, 2012
- a coating or barrier for shielding from excessive heat, such as that experienced by a spacecraft on re-entry into the earth's atmosphere
- A barrier that prevents a substance from absorbing heat energy from an outside source by absorbing and dissipating, or simply reflecting, that heat. Heat shields are commonly used to protect parts of a device from heat generated by its energy source, as in isolating the cabin of a car from its motor. Many spacecraft dissipate heat generated by friction with the atmosphere upon reentry using heat shields that melt and vaporize, dissipating the energy back into the atmosphere.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.