Overview of the first test-flight of the kentucky re-entry universal payload system (KRUPS)

J. Devin Sparks, Evan C. Whitmer, Gabriel I. Myers, Courtney C. Montague, Collin J. Dietz, Nicola Khouri, J. Tyler Nichols, Sean C. Field, Suzanne W. Smith, Alexandre Martin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The design of an efficient Thermal Protection System (TPS) remains one of the most challenging tasks of planetary exploration missions. Because of the harshness of atmospheric entry environments, ground tests cannot replicate these conditions. Consequently, engineers must rely on numerical models that often lack validation data. To provide a path toward inexpensive validation, the Kentucky Reentry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) spacecraft is being developed at the University of Kentucky. As a technology maturation step toward this overall goal, several KRUPS capsules are to be released from sub-orbital flights. In August 2017, a sub-scale version of the KRUPS capsule was successfully ejected at 150 km of altitude, from a sub-orbital sounding rocket. The goal of this first launch was to raise the Technical Readiness Level (TRL) to TRL 6 by demonstrating data acquisition, communication, sensing, and TPS design. The capsule re-entered the atmosphere, and successfully established communication with satellites. However, no data packet was transmitted. This first launch was nevertheless deemed a success, and paved the way for the next series of full scale missions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
StatePublished - 2018
EventAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2018 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: Jan 8 2018Jan 12 2018

Publication series

NameAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2018


ConferenceAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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