Bridgestone joins JAXA and Toyota on international space exploration mission

Bridgestone to support research on tires for manned, pressurized rovers required for lunar surface mobility and exploration.

Bridgestone Corp. in Tokyo and Nashville, Tennessee, is joining Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corp. in an international space exploration mission to expand the domain of human activity and develop intellectual property on space exploration.

 

Bridgestone's mission assignment is to research the performance needs of tires for use on manned, pressurized rovers to help them make better contact with the surface of the moon.

 

Bridgestone Corp. in Tokyo and Nashville, Tennessee, is joining Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corp. in an international space exploration mission to expand the domain of human activity and develop intellectual property on space exploration. Bridgestone's mission assignment is to research the performance needs of tires for use on manned, pressurized rovers to help them make better contact with the surface of the moon.

Manned, pressurized rover for lunar surface mobility and exploration. (Image courtesy Toyota Motor Corp.)

 

Bridgestone has partnered with both organizations to research this next phase of human exploration, building on a joint research partnership with JAXA in the 2000s to examine the contact patch between rovers and the lunar surface, and serve as a technical partner for the Toyota rover project.

 

The company's expertise and knowledge of tire contact patch will help explore the mobility challenges faced on the lunar surface, officials say. The development of an Elastic Wheel to support the rover's weight, acceleration and braking, minimize shock absorbance, and improve maneuverability enables the rover to cruise more than 10,000 kilometers on the lunar surface.

 

The company's expertise and knowledge of tire contact patch will help explore the mobility challenges faced on the lunar surface, officials say. The development of an Elastic Wheel to support the rover's weight, acceleration and braking, minimize shock absorbance, and improve maneuverability enables the rover to cruise more than 10,000 kilometers on the lunar surface.

 

Bridgestone enjoys a legacy of developing solutions to meet unique mobility challenges and is committed to actively contributing to this international space exploration mission, company officials affirm. “Through the development of a contact patch, capable of functioning even in the challenging mobility conditions experienced on the lunar surface of the moon, Bridgestone is determined to find solutions that allow the rover to accomplish its mission.”

 

“We believe that our technical capabilities allow us to explore the possibilities of tire development capable of functioning even in the harshest of conditions found on the surface of the moon, and creates a higher level of mobility for mankind,” says Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, Bridgestone Americas, during a JAXA session at the 35th Space Symposium.

 
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Courtney E. Howard is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International. Contact her by e-mail at courtney.howard@sae.org

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