The SMART Tire Company has contracted with multiple aerospace customers to supply advanced “space tires” for lunar missions. The new tires were recently unveiled in June at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France to rave reviews, and featured on TF1, the #1 French national TV network. Based on the R&D 100 Award winning spring tire co-invented by STC chief engineer, James Benzing, this new proprietary space tire is the first in existence to support the requirements of future rovers and manned space vehicles.
CEO of SMART Tire, Earl Cole says: “we are extremely proud to announce our participation in multiple LTV (Lunar Terrain Vehicle) projects alongside some of the world’s largest aerospace partners. To be chosen over all other major tire companies for this work, speaks volumes about the technology, and our ability to deliver innovative new products”.
STC’s new space tires utilize the same shape memory alloy materials currently being developed at NASA for the Mars sample fetch rover mission tentatively planned for 2026. Compared to steel wire used in the original lunar rover vehicle (“moon buggy”) back in 1972, these advanced materials can withstand 30x the reversible strain of steel, enabling damage-free exploration of rough lunar terrain. STC’s new lunar design incorporates multiple SMA layers into a single mechanical design with superior load carrying, flotation, damping and climbing capabilities all specially tailored to the lunar environment, where gravity is 1/6th of Earth, and temperatures can drop to 40 Kelvin (-230C).
Today NASA is set to deliver the first full color images from the recently launched James Webb telescope, but next the agency will turn its focus to a historic return to the Moon: the Artemis Project. As we gaze farther into the cosmos than ever before, the most ambitious manned space missions are just around the corner.
According to NASA.gov: “NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.”
Co-founder Brian Yennie adds: “The Artemis Project will send astronauts to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years, where they will traverse the most extreme extraterrestrial terrain ever explored, and SMART space tires are the only technology up for the job. This marks the beginning of a new era in space exploration where land vehicles play a crucial role in achieving what many have dreamed of for decades: sustainable human habitats on the Moon and Mars.”