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Akron's Goodyear creating special tires for future mission to the Moon

Developing airless tires for Moon rovers
Goodyear Tire.jpg
Posted at 7:23 AM, Aug 02, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — Goodyear tires are about to go where very few tires have been before. The company is reaching new heights by helping develop tires for the Moon. 

Akron native and Goodyear Senior Program Manager with Innovation Technology, Michael Rachita, says in order to keep up, it's critical to pivot and prepare for the future. This time, that means boldly going into some uncharted territory.

"The request is to help enable mobility on the lunar surface," said Rachita.

Goodyear is helping develop airless tires for future Moon rovers.

The prototype of the tire looks like something you'd see on your car-- but much more intense, expensive, and durable.

It was all recently announced in a new initiative with aerospace industrial company Lockheed Martin.

They are working hand-in-hand for NASA's Artemis Program.

"The tagline for their mission is the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, targeting around 2025 for a landing," said Rachita.

Those airless tires will be used on a special lunar mobility vehicle.

But it gets a little complicated, as Rachita explained.

"How can you you develop and provide tires that operate at extremely low temperatures, unlike any temperature you'd experience here on Earth, as low as -350 degrees Fahrenheit?" Rachita said.

Goodyear will use airless tire technology that can withstand the intense and rugged terrain on the Moon and survive the vacuum of space.

Once up there, explorers will determine what natural resources are on the surface.

Research and perfecting the product is not only a timely task but a dream come true for the company.

Rachita says this can lead to further exploration and possibly additional partnerships for the Akron-based company in the future.

"It's just such an honor to play a role in making history and getting to do it at home in Akron," said Rachita.

This isn't the first time Goodyear has worked with NASA. The company did it once before in the Apollo era--with tires on Apollo 14, the third mission to land on the moon.