I have read and heard in many places that when the astronauts of Apollo were coming back to Earth, they had to determine the best angle of attack to re-enter the atmosphere. This is usually indicated with an angular window.
I understand that if they approached the atmosphere head-on, their ship would have probably overheat due to the friction and burn up in the atmosphere. I am also aware of a "skip re-entry" method where the pilot actively controls the ship during re-entry to bleed off momentum, exit the atmosphere, and then begin the final entry.
My question is regarding the "skipping" effect that this site mentions:
Like a fast stone skimming across a pond, Apollo spacecraft would have simply bounced off the earths surface if the angle of attack was too shallow.
My (minimal) understanding of fluidics intuits me to believe that given the sparse density, the exosphere would not act as a non-newtonian fluid, that the friction would not "bounce" the craft. Keep in mind, I'm asking specifically about the unpowered, uncontrolled ships in relation to atmospheric effects, not angular momentum effects like (powered and controlled) Hohhman Transfers, gravity assists, or planned skip-re-entries. Essentially my question is this:
Is there a known effect wherein given a specific angle and velocity for a ship the size of the Apollo capsule, in unpowered, and uncontrolled flight, that Earth's atmosphere would become a dilatant to the point that the capsule would be deflected, overcoming the effects of gravity and friction, ejecting the craft back into orbit?