Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Alexandre Martin

Second Advisor

Dr. William T. Smith


Due to the uniqueness of atmospheric entry environments, ground facilities cannot accurately replicate re-entry conditions. Consequently, scientists primarily rely on numerical models to predict these conditions and inform Thermal Protection System (TPS) designs. These models often lack flight validation, which is necessary for increasing their fidelity. Thus, there is a substantial need to obtain such data to advance modeling capabilities.

The Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) is an adaptable test-bed for scientific experimentation with initial application to TPS. This vehicle was designed at the University of Kentucky to serve as an inexpensive means of obtaining validation data to enhance models developed at the university. KRUPS will be conducting its first orbital mission in July, 2021 on board Cygnus NG-15, a resupply vehicle serving the International Space Station. This mission, dubbed Kentucky Re-Entry Probe Experiment (KREPE) will provide the first set of relevant flight data for comparison and validation of computational results for the vehicle.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Award 80NSSC19K1103 in 2019

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Award 80NSSC19M0014 in 2019

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Award 80NSSC18K1670 in 2019

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Kentucky Award NNX15AR69H in 2019