Where the rubber meets the… runway

The Space Shuttle Endeavour made its final landing on June 1st, 2011. At the California Science Center, you can see (and touch) the actual tires it landed on, including all the damage they sustained on landing.

There are few things that fascinate me more than the difficulties of getting people into space and back again safely.

Apart from the obvious difficulties of propelling oneself fast enough and high enough to escape earth’s gravitational pull, and then trying to re-enter an atmosphere that will try to set fire to you as you go through, somehow you have to safely land back on the ground.

The Space Shuttle managed to do that successfully and required some custom made tires to do so.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that the tires are made and stamped by Michelin the way any commercially available tires would be, or the fact that with this wonderfully reusable spacecraft, you still have to change the tires before every flight that really speaks to me here, but whatever it is, I find these tires fascinating!

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1 Comment

  1. should have realised what they were! Excellent photos without a macro though. The uneven wear is probably more due to a problem on the runway (or uneven brakes)!

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