Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD


The purpose of this research is to support the final development of the Rigidizable Inflatable Get-Away-Special Experiment (RIGEX). The RIGEX program is an experimental initial step in developing large-scale rigidizable inflatable structures, which can be utilized in space applications. The primary intent of RIGEX is to verify and validate ground testing of inflation and rigidization methods for inflatable space structures against a zero-gravity space environment. This is performed by designing a Canister for All Payload Ejections (CAPE) experiment to collect data on space rigidized structures for validation of ground testing methods. The results presented in this thesis provide documentation needed to meet the requirements set forth by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for launching a payload into space. This thesis establishes a process for appropriately ground testing the components of RIGEX in an environment similar to space and explains future testing required. Methods for charging and testing the performance of the onboard inflation system are also discussed. Additionally, the steps taken to replace the onboard imaging system are explained. Throughout the course of assembling the RIGEX protoflight model, several complications were encountered and the design was modified, which are presented along with an as-built final assembly drawing package. Lastly, the procedure for handling RIGEX during its future progression is illustrated.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number