TOKYO — Bridgestone Corp. is preparing to take its partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to new heights.
The firm is working with JAXA and Toyota Motor Corp. to develop equipment for an international space exploration mission to the moon by 2029, said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer for Bridgestone Americas.
Bridgestone has been working with JAXA for about 10 years, consulting on projects relating to mobility in space. As JAXA put together plans for a mission with a larger contingency going to the moon, it began work with Toyota for the development and construction of a crewed, pressurized rover. The companies decided that the right partner to engineer the necessary tires for the rover was Bridgestone, Mr. Trigui said.
"Toyota is the main developer for the specialized moon rover. We're going to be responsible for design, development and supply of the wheel assembly," Mr. Trigui said. Bridgestone also will provide consultation for JAXA and Toyota as the wheels are integrated into the space-ready equipment.
The wheel and contact patch will not be constructed like a typical tire, Mr. Trigui said. For a start, it will be non-pneumatic, to cope with the different conditions of space travel.