I would have never guessed that during reentry, and at very high mach number, the flow of air over the Shuttle’s wing is laminar! To make it even stranger, as velocity decreases, there is a transition to turbulent flow across the wing (I suspect this is also caused by an increase in air density as the Shuttle decends into the atmosphere). Also very interesting is that this laminar flow actually provides some measure of insulation. And the affect is quite dramatic, causing up to a 500 degree F reduction in temperature for the laminar flow. Ref: http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts119/090329blt/ Interesting article, well worth reading!