Goodyear to study silica particle formation in space

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Goodyear is testing components in space as part of a project launching this month at the International Space Station (ISS) US National Laboratory, which works with NASA and uses its orbiting laboratory.

With launch scheduled to take place on July 21, the SpaceX CRS-18 will head to the ISS carrying the experiment onboard. In the microgravity environment of the space station, Goodyear will study the formation of silica particles. Scientists will look at unique forms of precipitated silica that could be used in tires to enhance performance.

“Goodyear quite literally has gone to the moon and back to take tire performance to new levels for consumers. Space exploration has served as inspiration for so much innovation, and we at Goodyear are proud of our legacy of participation, which continues with this upcoming experiment in microgravity,” said Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer.

In July 1969 Goodyear supplied essential products for the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Brakes developed by the tire maker helped the rocket move into place on the launch pads; a Goodyear purge and conditioning system helped the engines circulate nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen; and the window frame of the command module was Goodyear-manufactured, as was the panel on which the landing instruments were mounted.

When Apollo 11 splashed into the ocean return to Earth, the capsule was kept upright by Goodyear-made flotation bags, so the astronauts could crawl into recovery rafts. Later Apollo astronauts used a cart to carry photo equipment, digging tools and 35 bags they filled with lunar rock. The 16in tires on the cart were developed in a project that involved hundreds of Goodyear associates.

Astronauts aboard the ISS will conduct the experiment prepared by the Goodyear experts, while Goodyear scientists will simultaneously carry out the same investigation at the tire maker’s labs on Earth. The test specimen, which will be frozen for the journey back to Earth, will be compared with the Earth sample later.

To learn more about the on-orbit capabilities of the ISS US National Laboratory, including past research initiatives and available facilities, visit

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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