AKRON (Dec. 14, 2007) — Goodyear has signed a pact to be a preferred supplier for school bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corp., and it is partnering with NASA Glenn Research Center to develop non-pneumatic tires for use on the moon.
Blue Bird school buses will use Goodyear Unisteel G149 RSA and G182 RSD commercial tires. Both tires are designed to offer even wear, resistance to sidewall damage from curbs and superior traction.
The tire maker will produce the tires at its plants in Danville, Va., and Topeka, Kan.
Goodyear also announced a team of research and tire technology employees at the Akron Technical Center will work in conjunction with the NASA research center in Cleveland on the moon tire.
The basic rubber-pneumatic design used on Earth doesn't have the same utility on the moon, said NASA Principal Investigator Vivake Asnani. The tires must be designed to develop traction on sandy undulated terrain, in regions never seen by humans.
Asnani said the prospect of an immobilizing flat tire would be devastating to the mission.
The team is under a one-year timeline to develop a tire for the moon and potentially Mars.
Goodyear designed the pneumatic tires NASA used for its lunar missions in the 1970s.