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Goodyear showcases innovative ‘Space Tire’ at Geneva Motor Show

Space tire
Geneva, Switzerland, March 2, 2010 – Goodyear and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have developed an airless tire to transport large, long-range vehicles across the surface of the moon. The innovative ‘Space Tire’ will be exhibited publically in Europe for the first time at this year’s International Geneva Motor Show. The tire will be on display next to the entrance of the media center during press days and on Goodyear’s booth (hall 2, stand nr. 2057) during public show days.
Goodyear’s ‘Space Tire’ builds on technology pioneered by Goodyear in the 1960s for the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle’s (LRV) wire mesh moon tire. During the past year, Goodyear has been using computer modeling tools to analyze the Apollo lunar rover tire, along with prototype pneumatic tires and non-pneumatic concepts, in order to build a baseline understanding of the wheel’s mechanics and the challenges of the lunar environment.
Space tire
“The development of the original Apollo lunar mission tires and the new ‘Space Tire’ were driven by the fact that traditional rubber, pneumatic (air-filled) tires used on earth have little utility on the moon. This is because unfiltered solar radiation degrades rubber, and pneumatic tires pose an unacceptable risk of deflation,” explains Marc Junio, General Director, Goodyear Innovation Center Luxembourg.
The ‘Space Tire’ features 800 load bearing springs and is designed to carry much heavier vehicles over much greater distances than the wire mesh tire previously used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). “The new tire is extremely durable and energy efficient,” notes Junio. “The spring design contours to the surface on which it’s driven to provide traction. But all of the energy used to deform the tire is returned when the springs rebound. This doesn’t generate heat the way a normal tire does.”
According to Vivake Asnani, NASA’s principal investigator at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, the ‘Space Tire’ does not have a “single point failure mode”. “What that means,” he said, “is that a hard impact that might cause a pneumatic tire to puncture and deflate would only damage one of the 800 load bearing springs. Along with this ultra-redundant characteristic, the tire has a combination of overall stiffness yet flexibility that allows off-road vehicles to travel fast over rough terrain with relatively little motion being transferred to the vehicle. With the combined requirements of increased load, range and life, we needed to make a fundamental change to the original moon tire. What the Goodyear-NASA team developed is an innovative, yet simple network of interwoven springs that does the job. The tire design seems almost obvious in retrospect, as most good inventions do.”

About Goodyear

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs approximately 70,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 60 facilities in 25 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information on Goodyear, please visit www.goodyear.com.

About Nasa

The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center is one of NASA’s 10 field centers, empowered with the resources for developing cutting-edge technologies and advancing scientific research that address NASA’s mission to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. Working in partnership with government, industry and academia, the center serves to maintain the U.S. economy’s global leadership while benefiting the lives of people around the world.