The KRUPS (Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System) project began at the University of Kentucky in 2013.
The goal of the project is to provide an affordable and repeatable testbed for scientific instrumentation, validating mathematical models, and testing thermal protection systems (TPS). Since its creation, the team has built and flown several payloads, including high atmospheric balloon flights, sounding rocket missions, and most notably an orbital re-entry from the International Space Station onboard a Cygnus vehicle. The team is comprised of both graduate and undergraduate students from the College of Engineering. The project is supported by three professors: Drs. Alexandre Martin and Savio Poovathingal from the Department of Mechanical Engineering as well as Dr. William Smith from the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Recently, the team completed a sounding rocket mission out of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF). The launch was part of a program known as RockSat-X, hosted by Wallops and Colorado Space Grant Consortium. This mission, known as KARS (Kentucky Aboard RockSat) served to demonstrate the new ejection mechanism, which is powered by the TiNi™ Pin Puller. Three team members traveled to NASA’s WFF in June for a week of experiment testing. During testing, the team verified that the ejection mechanism could deploy the payload from the rocket, controlled by a timer event.
After completing June testing, the team returned in August for additional testing and the launch on August 11th. From the data transmitted back to the team, it is evident that the ejection mechanism worked as intended and the capsule was deployed successfully. The team credits EBAD’s TiNi™ Pin Puller for being an integral part of this success. The KRUPS project looks forward to future missions, including another orbital mission to the ISS happening in 2023.