KRUPS: ISS Flight for Instrument Testing

Grants and Contracts Details


1 PROPOSAL SUMMARY (ABSTRACT) Thermal protection systems (TPS) are required to mitigate the extreme heating encountered during hypersonic entry into the Martian, Venusian, and outer planet atmospheres as well as for manned and sample-return missions into the terrestrial atmosphere. The design of an efficient TPS remains one of the most challenging tasks of planetary exploration missions. Over the last 50 years, only a handful of high-speed entry experiments have been performed. Not only were these flights part of elaborate and costly exploration programs, but the TPS tested were at the final stage of design. In order to reach that stage, extensive ground test campaigns had to be performed, using arc-jet and hypersonic tunnel facilities, but none were flight proven. There is clearly a need to provide a low-cost test-bed to quickly and reliably evaluate TPS materials, test instruments, and provide orbital flight validation data. The Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) is a small entry capsule designed as a technology test-bed, built at the University of Kentucky. For this first incarnation, KRUPS has been designed to test TPS material and instrumentation. KRUPS recently completed three sounding rocket sub-orbital flights, aimed at testing various sub-systems. Three of these capsules are currently on their way to the ISS, to test them at orbital velocities. The overall objective of the proposed project is to take the project one step further by reconfiguring the capsule to qualify instruments. More specifically, a spectrometer will be used to monitor the composition of the atmosphere around the capsule, during an ISS return. The proposed project leverages NASA EPSCoR RA investment by 1) using the modeling codes developed through these investments to design and size the TPS of the capsule and 2) gathering flight data acquired to provide additional validations for these codes. It is also a direct continuation of an ISS EPSCoR 2018 project. i
Effective start/end date7/1/216/30/25


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $100,000.00


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