With the help of General Motors, Lockheed Martin and Goodyear, tires for lunar vehicles were produced. The project is expected to be completed in 2025. Businesses first want to establish permanent commercial vehicle operations on the Moon. Goodyear lends its extensive tire expertise to help astronauts navigate the lunar surface. The project will be run as part of the NASA Artemis program. 53 years ago, Goodyear also contributed to the Apollo 11 mission.
According to Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin, “NASA's Artemis mission to live and work on the Moon will be for lunar surface transportation, which we expect to address with vehicles driven by astronauts or autonomously operated without a crew.”
Our goal is to create mobility for NASA, private businesses and even other space organizations to promote science and new discoveries. This strategy demonstrates that NASA intends to lead commercial ventures, making the agency one of many customers.
Goodyear is using the highly advanced airless tire technology used on Earth in micro-mobility, autonomous shuttles and passenger vehicles to increase mobility on the Moon and withstand harsh conditions on the Moon.
According to Chris Helsel, Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer, Goodyear, “Everything we've learned while making tires for the extraordinarily harsh operating environment of the Moon will help us build better airless tires on Earth.”
“This will help us achieve our ultimate goal of facilitating mobility wherever it may be. It's also a privilege to make history with a reputable company that knows how to make tremendous strides in exploration and mobility.
According to Goodyear, the Apollo Moon reconnaissance vehicles were intended to be used for only a few days on excursions within five kilometers of the landing sites. Future missions will be designed to operate in drier climates and traverse rough terrain at much greater distances.
New tire properties will be required for years of longevity and even survival in temperatures as low as -250 degrees Fahrenheit (-150 degrees Celsius) at night and as hot as 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius) during the day.
GOODYEAR Partnership with NASA
Alongside Goodyear, Maryland-based firm Lockheed Martin has more than 50 years of experience with NASA, including the Orion exploration-class spacecraft for Artemis and several Martian spacecraft.
The firm will also oversee the development of the program's commercial business activities and coordination with NASA and other international space organizations. In addition, Lockheed Martin continues to develop new technologies for future space missions, while helping NASA discover every planet in our solar system.