Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Alexandre Martin


The Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) is an adaptable testbed for atmosphere entry science experiments, with an initial application to thermal protection systems (TPS). Because of the uniqueness of atmospheric entry conditions that ground testing is unable to replicate, scientists principally rely on numerical models for predicting entry conditions. The KRUPS spacecraft, developed at the University of Kentucky, provides an inexpensive means of obtaining validation data to verify and improve these models.

To increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of the spacecraft, two sub-orbital missions were developed. The first mission, KUDOS, launched August 13th, 2017 on a Terrier-Improved Malamute rocket to an altitude of ~150 km. The second mission, KOREVET, launched on March 25th, 2018 on the same type of rocket to an altitude of ~170 km. The chief purpose of both missions was to validate the spacecraft design, ejection mechanism, on-board power, data transmission, and data collection. After both missions, the overall TRL improved from 4 to 5 by validating most subsystems in a relevant environment. Both of these missions were invaluable preparation for the project's ultimate goal of releasing multiple experimental testbeds from the ISS.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)