Hey what about a nose-first reentry like the DC-X Delta Clipper. The cockpit did have re-entry tiles, right? Now, to protect the back half of the Phoenix. Cochrane could, MAYBE, deploy an inflatable ballute-type heat shield from behind the cockpit. This ballute should be inflated wide enough to dispell most of the heat away from the ship. Just think back to the Leonov's aerobraking scene in "2010" to see what I'm talking about. Also the nacelles may or may not be retracted for re-entry. I like the earlier poster's idea about using the nacelles to generate a plasma shield. This could supplement the ballute. Once braked to sufficient speed and altitude, Cochrane shuts off the plasma shield and deploys parachutes to get home. The ballutes could be used as airbags for final landing. Well, that's my theory.