Goodyear launches space experiment to enhance tyre performance

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) US National Laboratory in late July 2019 with the SpaceX CRS-18 to evaluate and improve their tyres. Goodyear will test tyre components, particularly the formation of silica particles, in the microgravity environment of the space station. The study is hoped to guide Goodyear’s engineers and scientists to better consumer tyre durability and performance.

A long-time space advocate, the American manufacturer supplied essential products for the Apollo 11 spacecraft, back in July 1969. Then, Goodyear brakes helped the missiles move into place on the launch pads; a Goodyear engine system helped circulate nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen; and the window frame of the command module was Goodyear-manufactured, as was the landing instruments-mounted panel.Upon its return to Earth, Apollo 11’s capsule was kept upright in the ocean by Goodyear’s flotation bags, and the 16-inch tyres on a mobility cart which was used to transport lunar rock was also manufactured by Goodyear.

The ISS National Lab has managed access to the permanent microgravity research from a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space, since its establishment in 2005. As such, Goodyear’s upcoming in-space silica experiment will be conducted through a cooperative agreement to fully utilise their orbiting laboratory for innovative science and technology demonstrations. Goodyear’s scientists will simultaneously carry out the same experiment in the company’s labs, to be assessed alongside the space research results later.

Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s CTO, said: “Goodyear quite literally has gone to the moon and back to take tyre performance to new levels for consumers, and we at Goodyear are proud of our legacy of participation in space exploration, which continues with this upcoming experiment in microgravity.”