In the book The Old Republic: Deceived the pilot of the cargo ship Fatman mentions hating atmospheric entry, and mentions the plasma and the radio blackout. I don't recall that being mentioned or shown in any other book/movie/TV show set in the 'modern' era (Modern here being during the movies and TV shows), outside of one glaring exception where the Invisible Hand is crashing into Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith

Do fully-functional ships no longer have these issues, or are blackouts and atmospheric heating mentioned elsewhere in canon or legends?

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    well - when Luke is entering Dagobah's atmosphere, he states "I know, I know! All the scopes are dead. I can't see a thing!" – NKCampbell Jul 17 '18 at 21:10
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    @NKCampbell is that because of reentry or due to the fact there is so much junk/fog that it overwhelmed the sensors? – CBredlow Jul 17 '18 at 21:12
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    if I knew that it wouldn't have been a comment, but an answer ;) – NKCampbell Jul 17 '18 at 21:14
  • The reason objects heat up on reentry is because they're going fast - they're in planetary or solar orbit, etc. If they just came to a halt and dropped (or they were stationary w.r.t. the planet when exiting lightspeed), there wouldn't be nearly as much atmospheric heating and ionized gasses (the reason for comms blackout). – Mike Harris Jul 17 '18 at 23:07
  • Yeah, most Earth spaceships on re-entry don't fly as much as plummet. If we had ships that could do truly controlled landings, and come in at a speed other than terminal velocity, we could avoid the heat and blackout issues. The shuttle came closest, but even it only had a bit of control. – VBartilucci Jul 18 '18 at 14:59


There are a few examples that the physics of material / ships burning on reentry is possible in Disney canon era

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan

Leia imagined the station's wreckage tumbling into the atmosphere of Paucris Major, glowing with heat as it burned on reentry. Keir's ship would be caught in the planet's gravity too, and the evidence he'd given his life for would disintegrate into atoms, lost forever.

Empire's End: Aftermath (book 2)

And the the Starhawk dips considerably as the atmosphere kisses it, the underside of the ship glowing with the sudden heat of reentry.

-- the ship's main engines are damaged. The scene implies that were the main engines working, the ship wouldn't be crashing, but no evidence that reentry would not still cause heat, etc...

There does appear to be standard and expected turbulence associated w/ reentry. One instance depicts a functional ship but a low skill, new pilot, so the burning may be a result of poor / low skill

Lords of the Sith

They hit the outer atmosphere, and it felt like running into a wall. The sudden loss of velocity threw them both forward....flames sheathed the ship, painting the cockpit in orange light. The metal of the hull groaned and popped. The ship shook so badly that Isval's teeth ached. The vessel continued to vibrate, but it was the normal bouncing of reentry.

- pg 152 (Kindle)

Borderline example here, but the fact that the life pod has a reentry shield implies that it would need it under normal operating circumstances.

A New Dawn

There was little she could do, except put the life pod's reentry shield between them and the blast

- pg 353 (Kindle)

The Mandalorian: Season 2

(only in trailer form so far - tbd if the scenes remain the final cut)

The Razor Crest appears to be experiencing the effects of atmospheric re-entry

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  • But that isn't functional ship, that is a crashing station. – CBredlow Jul 17 '18 at 21:20
  • I wasn't finished with the quote :D @CBredlow - now updated (that extra info was on the next page and I hadn't flipped there yet lol) – NKCampbell Jul 17 '18 at 21:21
  • @CBredlow - couple more examples for you – NKCampbell Jul 17 '18 at 21:41
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    Another example from the trailer to the new Squadrons game. Apparently, Tie/Interceptors burn like fireballs, but the X-wing does not. youtu.be/f2VmOqjV_7Q?t=202 – Erik Sep 16 '20 at 20:06

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