Michelin Sole Tire Supplier for Space Shuttle Program
GREENVILLE, S.C. (July 21, 2011) – The space shuttle Atlantis touched down for the last time today, landing once again on MICHELIN® tires. Michelin has been manufacturing
the space shuttle tires at its Norwood, N.C., aviation tire plant.
"It was a proud moment for Michelin and NASA to watch the close of the space shuttle era," said Ron Olds, vice president of sales for Michelin Aircraft Tires. "The final landing closed a 30-year chapter in American history that showcased some of the greatest technological advancements spurred on by the American spirit. Every aspect of the shuttle program - down to the tires designed to dependably return the spacecraft safely to earth - is a tribute to the American 'can do' attitude."
The tires for the space shuttle undergo extreme conditions - from landing at speeds up to 288 mph to carrying loads as much as three times that of a Boeing 747 tire, which is the equivalent of a 40-car starting line-up at a NASCAR race.
The tires weigh approximately 230 pounds and each tire takes approximately six hours to build. The space shuttle takes six tires - four main-landing gear and two nose-landing gear tires - to land. The shuttle tires are inflated up to 373 psi and use nitrogen, which best maintains pressure in varying altitudes and extreme temperatures.