Space Shuttle Tire

Get your hands on an actual Michelin aircraft tire used during NASA's fabled Space Shuttle program.

Inside the entry corridor to The Saunders Planetarium, lay your hands on a tire that has traveled more than a million miles -- but was only actually used for the last few hundred yards of the trip!

This Michelin aircraft tire was made in North Carolina and designed to handle the massive weight of a space shuttle orbiter hitting the runway at 250 miles per hour.

How heavy is that? The tire was built to carry three times the load of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet tire, or the weight of the entire 40-car starting lineup of a NASCAR race.

Shuttle tires went from more than -40 degrees Fahrenheit in space to +130 degrees Fahrenheit on landing -- all in a matter of minutes.

The shuttle's main landing gear tires were only used one time and the nose landing gear tires were typically used for two landings.

 

Michelin is so proud of its role creating the tire for the Space Shuttle program, they even made a commercial about it, featuring the Michelin Man as an astronaut!