Purdue University Graduate School
2023.8.2 Dylan_Graulich_Thesis_Final.pdf (35.64 MB)


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posted on 2023-08-02, 16:31 authored by Dylan Thomas GraulichDylan Thomas Graulich

 The last decade has seen a proliferation of spaceflight ventures, sparking a new commercial Space Race. Companies ranging in size from SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic to startups with just a few employees have submitted designs for a Lunar Lander. As the world shifts its attention back to the Moon, reducing mass and increasing safety in these systems has become vital. One avenue to weight reduction may be the legs of the lander. This experiment measures the heating of lunar lander legs from interaction with the lander’s rocket exhaust plume. The temperature of the legs was measured using thermocouples and thermochromic paint. Thirty-two thermocouples were attached in a grid pattern to generate a temperature map of the leg. Removable thermochromic paint shields provide an immediate temperature indicator so that leg distance and angle can be quickly adjusted without having to view the thermocouple temperature data. Heat transfer is also measured on the shield, finding radiation and convection. Ground tests show that the test methods, instruments, and hardware are reliable. Ground tests also show that the most significant heating and convection in ground-leg interactions occur on the bottom foot of the lander, with little heating on the top half of the leg. Further study of this heating will be vital for the future of lunar research 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Steven Collicott

Additional Committee Member 2

Timothée Pourpoint

Additional Committee Member 3

Alexy Shashurin