January 20, 2021

Bridgestone Joins International Space Exploration Mission

The Lunar Rover concept
The Lunar Rover concept

Bridgestone will take part in an international space exploration mission together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota).

JAXA and Toyota have agreed to further cooperate on, and accelerate, their ongoing joint study of a manned pressurised rover that employs fuel cell electric vehicle technologies – a form of mobility the companies say is necessary for human exploration on the surface of the moon. The rover will, the companies say, have a total lunar-surface cruising range of more than 10,000 km.

Bridgestone’s involvement in the mission will include researching the performance needs of tyres for use on these rovers, to help them make better contact with the moon’s surface.

Bridgestone says its knowledge will help with the expected mobility challenges, with the development of an Elastic Wheel to support the vehicle’s weight, acceleration and braking, minimise shock absorbance, and improve manoeuvrability.

“We are honoured to partner with JAXA and Toyota in the challenge of space exploration,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, Bridgestone Americas. “We believe that our technical capabilities allow us to explore the development of a tyre that is capable of functioning even in the harshest of conditions experienced on the surface of the moon and bring us to a higher level of mobility for mankind . . . This mission represents that commitment and is a testament of Bridgestone’s commitment to improving the way people move, live, work and play.”