AKRON — Goodyear is ready to look to the heavens as it sends some of its tire components into space for testing.
The Akron-based tire maker is part of a project this month that takes flight to International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, the company said in a news release. The SpaceX CRS-18 expects to launch on July 21 and head to the ISS with a Goodyear experiment onboard. Goodyear announced the project last year.
Goodyear plans to study the formation of silica particles, a material used in consumer tires, in the microgravity environment of the space station, the company said. Goodyear engineers will use the results to "determine if unique forms of precipitated silica might be considered in tires to enhance performance," the release stated.
Astronauts aboard the ISS will conduct Goodyear's experiment while company scientists simultaneously carry out the same experiment in the company's labs, allowing for comparison.
Goodyear's in-space testing is made possible through an agreement with the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, which works with NASA to use the lab to forward innovations capable of improving life on Earth, the release said.
"Goodyear quite literally has gone to the moon and back to take tire performance to new levels for consumers," Chris Helsel, Goodyear's chief technology officer, said in the release. "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."