From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
5. (Aerospace) Wearing away of the outer layers of a protective shield or surface by the heat and aerodynamic forces caused by flying through the atmosphere at hypersonic speed, as during reentry from space; as, ablation of the heat shield during reentry. [PJC]
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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