Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony N. Palazotto, PhD


AFIT is in the process of designing a Space Shuttle experiment designated as the Rigidized Inflatable Get-Away-Special Experiment (RIGEX) to study the effects of microgravity on the deployment of rigidizable composite structures. Once in space, the experiment will inflate and rigidize three composite structures and perform a vibration analysis on each by exciting the tubes using piezoelectric patches and collecting data via an accelerometer. This paper presents the structural and vibration analysis of the RIGEX assembly and inflatable composite tubes using ABAQUS Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software. Comparison of the analysis has been carried out with Eigenvalue/Eigenvector experimentation by means of ping testing. This FEA analysis has been used to verify the natural frequency and structural integrity of the RIGEX support assemblies. The ABAQUS FEA results correlated to within 20% of experimental values.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number