Magi Craft Meister 490
15 Showdown With The Demons Arc
15-03 Entering The Atmosphere
Usually, there is a specific trajectory that space shuttles should take when entering the atmosphere.
Thata trajectory would use air resistance to slow down the shuttle, preventing it from overheating and bursting into flames.
The tip of the shuttle would clash against the air resistance as it enters the atmosphere.
When that happens, the speed is so high that the particles of air collide with the tip of the shuttle one after another without being pushed away.
This is known as an adiabatic compression of air.
In physics, the gas laws by Boyle and Charles indicate that “gas pressure is inversely proportional to volume and proportional to absolute temperature”.
In other words, “the more air is compressed, the hotter it gets”. And by “hotter”, it doesn’t mean “a little hotter”. Its temperature can rise to anywhere between 3,000 to 10,000 degrees, sometimes even more.
With spacecrafts, their trajectory is devised so that their temperature remains around 1,500 to 1,600 degrees, and it’s very important that it remains within that threshold as much as possible.
Building extra bulges and wings on a spacecraft do nothing but interfere with this trajectory correction.
“Reiko, please deploy a Solid Barrier as wide as possible.”
Those were Laojun’s instructions to Reiko. This was to increase the air resistance and decelerate in order to reduce the heat Falcon 1 would be subject to as much as possible.
The Falcon 1 entered the atmosphere as Reiko deployed a Solid Barrier.
Its altitude was about 100 kilometers, and its speed was close to 16 km/s. At that speed, it would collide with the ground in a matter of a few seconds unless it decelerated.
This speed creates a layer of hot, plasmated air in front of the Solid Barrier. It started to glow yellow due to its high temperature.
“…Estimated temperature: 10,000 degrees? …‘Cooling’!”
She hadn’t touched the Falcon 1 itself, but its radiant heat was so high that it was hard to put into words. Reiko tried to decrease Falcon 1’s temperature with the engineering magic “Cooling”, but it was like pouring a bucket of water over hot lava.
The Falcon’s nose became red. The melting point of aluminum 64 is 1,540 to 1,650 degrees Celsius. It had no way to withstand 10,000 degrees.
The planet’s surface was getting closer and closer. It was no wonder, since the Falcon was falling almost vertically. Although it was slowing down, it would take it only a handful of seconds to reach the surface.
With the strongest cooling spell, the overheating of the aircraft finally took a rest. Reiko then focused on controlling the aircraft.
It was currently descending at 6 km/s. Its altitude was less than 20 kilometers.
At this rate, without proper deceleration, it would crash onto the ground in less than 4 seconds.
<<Reiko, fire the Magi Jet Engine horizontally!>>
These were Jin’s instructions. Reiko immediately reacted and did as he had said, causing the Falcon 1 to begin to adjust its stance.
The vertical fall trajectory had now slanted, albeit ever so slightly. This would grant Reiko a few more seconds to act, though.
<<Don’t give up, Reiko! You can cancel the Solid Barrier and then try to point the Falcon’s nose in the direction of travel as much as you can!>>
Its altitude was now 10 kilometers. Its speed had dropped to 3 km/s. Once again, it would crash in less than 4 seconds.
It was all or nothing. Reiko decided to cancel the Solid Barrier. She gambled that the Falcon would slow down due to the air resistance.
“Father, I love you.”
Reiko murmured through the Mana Comm and canceled the Solid Barrier.
＊ ＊ ＊
<<Father, I love you.>>
In Hourai Island’s control room, Reiko’s mutter was heard by Jin.
＊ ＊ ＊
Reiko had canceled the Solid Barrier at an altitude of 3,000 meters.
A lump of air crashed against the Falcon 1’s fuselage. It’s speed was now almost 2.8 km/s. In other words, Mach 8.
The Falcon’s assumed upper speed limit was around 1,000 km/h, which equal to 0.28 km/s.
And it was falling 10 times faster than that. However, the aircraft that Jin had poured his heart and soul into building was able to endure such an absurd amount of force for a few seconds.
Then, within those few seconds, the Falcon’s speed had dropped below Mach 1. But in return, its nose was crushed, and both of its wings had been torn apart.
With a distorted fuselage and deprived of both of its wings, the tailspinning Falcon fell into the water between Hourai Island and the Elias Peninsula.
Laojun, having predicted to some extent the point where the Falcon would fall, rushed the Hydro and Mermaid units to the scene.
“Please be assured, My Lord. Reiko’s magical response is as strong as ever.”
The Hydro units rushed to Reiko’s exact location since they had detected her magical response.
They were quickly able to find her as she emerged on the water’s surface.
On the other hand, the Mermaid units were successful in recovering the Falcon 1 that had sunk into the sea, and were also able to retrieve nearly 80% of the scattered parts it had lost, such as its wings.
The exhausted Jin was still in the control room in Hourai Island.
“What happened, Jin?”
“Did something go wrong?”
Before he realized, Stearleana and Toa were already there as well.
They seemed to have gone to the control room because they were worried about Jin being so flustered.
“Ah, my mistake has caused Reiko to walk a dangerous tightrope…”
Jin briefly explained what happened.
Thanks to her basic knowledge, Stearlena managed to understand to some extent, but Toa was unable to make heads nor tails from it.
＊ ＊ ＊
In the evening, Reiko returned, along with the wreckage of Falcon 1.
Looking upon the face of Jin, who had remained by himself in the control room, Reiko’s first words were…
“Father, I’m sorry for ruining Falcon 1.”
Jin yelled louder than ever. Reiko was completely taken aback.
“I’m sorry, Father! I really didn’t mean to ruin it, but…”
Jin silently approached Reiko, who had lowered her head as she tried to explain herself.
As her shoulders dropped even lower, Jin placed his hands on them.
“I’m glad you’re safe, Reiko.”
“All of this happened because of my own naivety. I’m not going to blame you for trying your best to help me. But I can’t help getting a bit angry to see you taking it too far.”
Having said that, Jin softly bonked Reiko on the head with his fist.
“It’s not just the Falcon. I can’t bear the thought of you getting hurt for my sake.”
Reiko, who also has the sense of touch, could feel that Jin’s fist hadn’t hit her with too much force. And she could also understand Jin’s affection for her.
Jin hugged Reiko, who had been barely able to apologize, so as to console her.
“Sorry for yelling at you. You’re always doing everything in your power to help me.”
“That is my purpose, after all.”
With a worried expression on his face, Jin started to gently stroke Reiko’s head.
“How’s your body? Does anything feel out of place?”
“No, I’m fine. The fall was nothing for this body you’ve given me, Father.”
After examining Reiko’s body with “Analyze,” Jin confirmed that she wasn’t just putting on a brave front, and sighed with relief. Then…
“Laojun, how’s the status on the retrieved Falcon 1?”
At last, he could afford to worry about other things.
“The fuselage is relatively unharmed. We have recovered both of the damaged wings. It is possible to completely repair the Falcon 1.”
“I see, that’s great.”
Jin quickly instructed Laojun to begin repairing Falcon 1.
In the meantime, he would analyze the Control Core of the retrieved Satellite 001 in order to identify the problems.
“Let me help you, Father.”
Of course, Reiko would act as an assistant.
In this way, Jin and Hourai Island would accumulate more strength, despite Satellite 001’s failure, as encouragement to face new challenges.
But not before Jin gave both Laojun and Reiko a scolding that lasted nearly three hours.