NASA USIP: Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) - Experimental Microgravity Payload Testbed Demonstration

Grants and Contracts Details


The Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) is a small re-entry capsule designed as a technology testbed. For its first incarnation, KRUPS has been designed to test Thermal Protection System (TPS) material and instrumentation. TPS are used to protect spacecraft, and its payload, from the extreme conditions of planetary entry. KRUPS has been developed at the University of Kentucky over the past 3 years, partially supported by funding by the Kentucky Space Grant. Currently, progress is being made in system verification, software implementation, and launch qualifications. The objective at the end of the funded period is to launch KRUPS off a sounding rocket. As an interim step, KRUPS will be first put on a balloon flight, using local expertise and readily available material at the University of Kentucky. Following this initial test-flight, selected members of the KRUPS team will participate in the Rock-on! 2016 workshop at the end of June. This training will enable the students to prepare for the sounding rocket launch one year later. For both launches, the KRUPS capsule will not undergo free-flight, but will serve as the data acquisition system for a hosted experiment. The launches will serve two purposes: qualify the systems for the KRUPS capsule, and provide experimental data for a group of undergraduate biology students studying the development of zebrafish cells. It is expected that all the students participating in the project, including the non-engineering students, will undergo training for the NASA Project Management Requirements. Engineering students will also participate in the Rock-on! workshop program. In addition to the PI, the students will be mentored by three faculty members (two from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and one from the Department of Biology), each providing unique skills and expertise. An engineering graduate student will provide expert support to the undergraduate students responsible for developing the KRUPS spacecraft, and two biology graduate students will do the same for the undergraduate biology team. Additionally, a team lead by an undergraduate student from the Department of Management will develop a commercialization plan for the KRUPS capsule.
Effective start/end date5/9/169/8/18


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $200,000.00


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