AKRON — Goodyear seeks another moon landing, partnering with Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop tires for "lunar mobility vehicles."
Lockheed, noting NASA's Artemis program, said it is working on surface transportation for the moon of both autonomous and astronaut-driven vehicles.
The overall aim of Artemis is to create a launching station on the moon for travel to Mars. The first mission, Artemis One, involves an uncrewed test flight around the moon that will serve as a "keystone in testing" for a human landing, NASA said, adding the next launch window is at the end of August.
As Artemis develops, Lockheed and Goodyear see benefits to investing now to be a part of future endeavors.
"We're developing this new generation of lunar mobility vehicle to be available to NASA and for commercial companies — and even other space agencies — to support science and human exploration," Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin, said. "This approach exemplifies NASA's desire for industry to take the lead with commercial efforts that enable the agency to be one of many customers."
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Goodyear said it is drawing from its advanced airless tire technology with "micro-mobility, autonomous shuttles and passenger vehicles, to advance lunar mobility and withstand the challenging conditions on the moon."
Goodyear said the companies already are applying existing expertise to the project, including testing concepts in "lunar soil" beds.
"Everything we learn from making tires for the moon's extremely difficult operating environment will help us make better airless tires on Earth," Chris Helsel, senior vice president, global operations and chief technology officer at Goodyear, said. "This will contribute to our end goal of enabling mobility no matter where it takes place."
For more than 50 years, Lockheed Martin has worked with NASA on deep-space human and robotic spacecraft, such as NASA's Orion exploration-class spaceship for Artemis and numerous Mars planetary spacecraft. Lockheed will manage the development of the program's commercial business operations and engagement with NASA and global space agencies.
"Lockheed Martin has helped NASA explore every planet of our solar system, and continues to develop new technologies for future space missions," Goodyear said.