Reconstruction of the Kentucky Re-Entry Universal Payload System Hypersonic Flight Trajectory

Bruno Tacchi, Tyler D. Stoffel, Alexandre Martin, Savio J. Poovathingal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) is a small spacecraft developed to provide flight data during atmospheric reentry. The KRUPS capsules made a historic reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2021, and this work details the reconstruction of the flight trajectories by inverse estimation based on the flight data. A trajectory modeling program is used with a one-dimensional material response solver to generate a prediction of the stagnation wall temperature of the KRUPS capsule during of the KRUPS capsule during reentry. These temperature results are compared to the temperature data obtained during the mission, and the initial parameters of the trajectory simulation are optimized to find the best estimated trajectories. The inverse estimation is performed in three ways: by assuming radiative equilibrium at the wall, by estimating the wall temperature after the trajectory simulations are first performed, and by coupling the trajectory and one-dimensional material response solver. Finally, the best estimated trajectories are compared against simulations performed using a three-dimensional material response solver, the Kentucky Aerodynamics and Thermal-response System Fluid Material Response module. It is observed that all approaches converge to a possible ejection of the KRUPS capsule into the Earth’s atmosphere at 35 km.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-447
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by all authors. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Reconstruction of the Kentucky Re-Entry Universal Payload System Hypersonic Flight Trajectory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this