Goodyear is an old hand at the space business, but it’s been decades since it has worked on anything that’s entered the ‘final frontier’. That’ll change next week with the expected launch of the SpaceX CRS-18 on 21 July. When it blasts off towards the International Space Station (ISS) it’ll carry a Goodyear experiment on board. Success will lead to better-performing tyres in future.
When you only have one-sixth the gravity you’re accustomed to, you need a tyre that makes good contact with the surface. This is why Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation have asked Bridgestone to contribute its expertise to their new joint project. The tyre maker will draw upon its knowledge of tyre contact patches and develop an elastic wheel that will support the weight, acceleration and braking of the lunar rover that JAXA and Toyota intend to build.