Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Space shuttle tires: Goodrich vs. Michelin

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Space shuttle tires: Goodrich vs. Michelin
Spacepsycho
Member

Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 09-10-2011 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just picked up a couple of large 4" x 3" segments from a cut up main gear tire flown on STS-70. The tire pieces were cut with a bandsaw, they're from the sidewall with black and the bag is marked "S/N 2289N00069".

These were given out to VIP's who attended an open house at JSC and I purchased these from the family of the VIP.

The only other cut up flown shuttle tire I've seen is the famous display by Goodrich, who made 100 glass globes on a wood plaque, that held a 2.5" x 2.5" section of STS-1 tire. I have a 3-4 of the Goodrich STS-1 flown tire displays, the only differences between the two tires is the STS-1 segment is a little thinner and it has white fabric cords, where this STS-70 section has black fabric.

I have a couple of questions, on the Michelin website it says that they made the tires for every shuttle mission, but I know that Goodrich made the tires for STS-1, so how can Michelin say this? Any idea how many missions Goodrich vs. Michelin tires were flown?

Does anyone else have cut up pieces of flown tires or does anyone know how many flown tires were cut up for displays?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-10-2011 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michelin's own aviation history website helps resolve the discrepancy between it claiming to be the "sole tire supplier for the Space Shuttle program since the first launch in 1981" and BF Goodrich providing tires for STS-1.

If you look at Michelin's timeline, you will find the following entries:

1981 Space shuttle Columbia lands on BFGoodrich® tires, wheels and brakes.

1989 The Michelin® Group purchases the BFGoodrich® aircraft tire division to establish a full-service supplier tending to the needs of the military, airline, regional and general aviation segments of the aviation industry.

So just like Boeing today claims credit for the Mercury capsule because it merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, Michelin is claiming credit for BF Goodrich's space shuttle tires.

With that said though, it was not simply a matter of Michelin replacing their logo for Goodrich's on the shuttle tires. Michelin continued to improve upon the tire, redesigning it, and, according to the company, in 1995 the first set of Michelin Air tires were used on the space shuttle.

As to your other questions...

I also have a segment of STS-70 tire and a BF Goodrich STS-1 tire display.

If you look again at the BF Goodrich plaque that serves as the base for the glass globe and pewter shuttle model, you'll notice that while it references STS-1 and the globe containing a "section of an actual space shuttle tire" it never makes the connection that the segment is from an STS-1 flown tire.

In discussions with other owners of the same presentation over the years, there is the sense that the tire section is just a sample and was not flown on Columbia.

With regards to the STS-70 tire segment, a number of years ago, I had the chance to discuss tire segments with an educational outreach representative from Michelin who worked with NASA. She told me that for many years, NASA would return tires to Michelin after they were flown, which the company would then cut into segments and distribute to educators.

That was consistent with my own piece, which had been prepared as a sample of what could be made available for educator workshops.

The handouts continued until Michelin found teachers selling the tire segments on eBay.

Spacepsycho
Member

Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 09-10-2011 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, thanks for the info.

About 10 years ago I spoke with a gentleman who used to be a Goodrich manager for the aviation and aerospace division. I asked about the wood plaque and glass globe displays, he told me there were 100 made and they all had flown tire segments in them. I never heard the tire pieces in the glass globe were samples and how can the provenance be determined either way?

I like to slice these flown tires into very, very thin sections (in order to get the most out of each chunk) mount the sections onto a photo or litho of the space shuttle and give them away to kids when I do school presentations.

Any idea how many flown tires were cut up and given away?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2583
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-10-2011 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The handouts continued until Michelin found teachers selling the tire segments on eBay.

Personally, I'm unsure whether the alternative I saw was better: at the World Science Festival in 2010 in NYC, there was a flown shuttle tire which had been painted white(!) and the public allowed to write on with a variety of markers....

Spacepsycho
Member

Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 09-10-2011 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can always get a can of paint remover, but finding a tire cut into 200 pieces, then trying to glue them back together, is a bit more difficult.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-10-2011 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My understanding is that there are only a few painted tires. They paint over the signatures after the events and use them again.

Personally, I think it's a wonderful idea, as it gets the public to interact with an artifact in an unexpected way, leading to greater interest. I have watched the public in situations where they are presented with a flown tire on display and where they've been able to sign the tire. Guess which one holds their attention longer?

Keep in mind, every shuttle mission was outfitted with four main landing gear tires and they were one-use only. That's over 500 tires. Even if half were painted/cut apart, that still leaves many more tires that there are museums to display them.

(And that's to say nothing of the two nose gear tires, which were reused, but are also in no short supply.)

Joel Katzowitz
Member

Posts: 445
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 09-11-2011 07:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a 2"x 7 1/2" section of a nose gear tire that I personally cut out with another cS member/buddy. A friend of ours acquired the tire and we offered to cut it into sections for her to sell. After cutting out two sections on a bandsaw we gave up. The rubber melted, smelled awful, and coated the blade ruining it. We each kept a section and returned the tire to her. My section has the letters "ED" on it in red which I assume was part of the word "scrapped". Looking at the tread, I doubt it was flown because the surface is almost pristine. We have no other information on it, but it's still pretty cool.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1655
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 09-11-2011 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
That's over 500 tires. Even if half were painted/cut apart, that still leaves many more tires that there are museums to display them.
And we still can't get one for our museum here at home!

I have a fellow that works with me that works for me that also spent time working on the Michelin tire. All of the material used in me manufacturing of the tire belongs to NASA even when in the Michelin plant. Therefore obtaining any tire material is difficult. I believe this would make a good give away for your cause Ray as well as the giveaway item that NASA was asking for as was stated on another thread on this site.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-11-2011 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another tire segment not yet mentioned is the STS-27 and STS-28 flown nose gear sections encased in acrylic and offered in 2009 as part of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's Space Artifact Series.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3251
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-11-2011 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Slightly off-topic, but wheel-related: I have this section of STS-1 flown brake pad. It's about 3mm thick with striations on the face indicating that this was the working surface. Can anyone point to more info on the structure of the braking surfaces?

Spacepsycho
Member

Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 09-11-2011 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fred, thanks for the advice about the tires and I've also been trying to get a tire for our school, but so far no luck.

The best way I've found to cut up tires is with a large paper cutting machine, used to trim the edges from books or thick stacks of paper.

When I cut up a tire segment into thin cross sections, the paper cutting machine shaves off 1mm slices. I can get hundreds of pieces from one chunk. Then I'll cut those thin sections into 1/3 or 1/4 and mount them onto photos or lithos or even old calender pictures (whatever I can find cheap) and give them out at school presentations with a COA on the back.

They're virtually worthless as a collectible, but you should see the kids light up when they're given a piece from the space shuttle that's flown in space. I've had dozens of parents call and write thanking me for the piece of space shuttle, but in reality, it's no big deal.

It's our job to inspire, teach and promote today's generations to continue space exploration, advances in technology and allow them to dream, we're not doing our job as stewards on which we all enjoyed.

Personally, I'm very happy these educators and others given tire sections decided to sell them cheap, because it gives me the opportunity to do something for our kids that they cherish.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-11-2011 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A large number of tires were to have been put up for surplus auction through the General Services Administration but media attention and subsequent political pressure resulted in the tires being retained for "education and outreach activities."

Some of these tires were used, as described, to have the public sign at NASA-supported events. Some were offered directly to museums and others were offered for loan to educational and nontraditional organizations.

The loan program was unique in that allowed for the recipient to cut apart or otherwise alter the tires, for the purpose of creating art or unique exhibits, though all the material remained the property of NASA.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2583
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-12-2011 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm still on the fence as to whether or not a painted shuttle tire - even if there are plenty to go around - holds the public's attention longer than an unpainted one. Do they really understand that it's a flown part of the shuttle, or do they see it as an opportunity to scribble on something without reading the accompanying placard?

After all, there are other artifacts which hold public interest without being painted. Being allowed to touch a piece of the moon, for example. Would it really make a difference if we took a moon rock and painted it white and told the public, go ahead and write on it with a Sharpie?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-12-2011 12:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Being allowed to touch a piece of the moon, for example.
Consider the difference between touching a piece of the moon and seeing a moon rock behind glass. I'd compare that to writing on a flown shuttle tire versus seeing one on static display.

In both cases, the experience is memorable because it is interactive...

saturn1b
Member

Posts: 137
From: Westcliffe, CO
Registered: Jun 2006

posted 09-14-2011 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for saturn1b   Click Here to Email saturn1b     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We certainly encourage everyone to touch our flown tire but we will never paint it, cut it or deface it in any way with the exception of having it signed by astronauts like the one in Frontiers Of Flight museum in Dallas. We've even had little ones sit in it and have their photo taken which is a big thrill for them.

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 09-14-2011 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is very nice to see that NASA has all of these outreach programs. I'm trying to see if any of the schools I went to (along with my mom's school that she teaches at) are interested in any of this.

hyperv6
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Clinton, Ohio USA
Registered: Aug 2013

posted 08-27-2013 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6   Click Here to Email hyperv6     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is something I would like to add on the tires.

I worked for a company that did most of the display work for BFG and Michelin in the 80's.

At one time there were around 30 Shuttle tires put on displays and sent around the world to most major airports for display. At this time I only know of 2 of the tires still around and one for sure. The rest may still be in place or have gotten tossed out or taken home by someone. We had several Ford Van loads of these and it neat to see.

As for the globe that BFG gave away. We had assembled these for BFG. The reason there is so few is they were just being given out at the time of the Challenger disaster that BFG pulled the plug on them. I am not sure how many were given out but many of them first went to Japan. I am sure some at the headquarters had some and gave them to NASA people too. They were given out before I started and I was given one later. When I left they still had several boxes of them and I would assume they may have been tossed out as the owner had no sense of history.

Note too on the globes I never saw any used chunks as we has many cut up tires including a large box of squares for these globes. The base said it is a piece of shuttle tire not used or flown. So if you have one I so not believe it is or ever was used. I saw where they came from and unless someone changed them they should all be un flown.

Same on some wedges as BFG has many wedges cut and used for shows and displays all were new tires.

I also have a neighbor who did the test on the shuttle tires for BFG in Brecksville Ohio. BFG owned Cleveland Pneumatics and BFG tire so they sold the landing gear as a package.

He told me that as we all know the shuttle was well over weight and the gear and brakes were inadequate from the start. The Shuttle used tractor braking to steer and often the brakes would over heat and lock up. There were more blown tires than the public was ever told. Until they added a steering nose gear the Shuttle was not permitted to land at KFC. They feared that if a tire failed it could send the shuttle to the swamps on the side of the runway. Note after the new nose gear after the Challenger explosion they moved the landings back with the new nose gear.

Many of the damaged tires came back to BFG and I am not sure all returned to NASA. Many may have bend destroyed.

Also my neighbor told me of how the computer would take the air speed and put the gear down automatically. With all they sorted out no one figured on a tail wind and in one of the early flights they had too much air speed and came with in I believe 3 seconds of a belly landing. I just confirmed this in the book Forever Young as Mr Young stated just what I was told.

I have a few things that were tossed out by BFG left. I have a large air brushed painting of the Shuttle landing and flying that was used in one of their displays. It is about 10-12 feet tall.

Michelin really had little to do with the tire other than buying BFG. This was a BFG project and all done here in Ohio.

I even used one of the tires for a while for weight in the back of my truck in the winter time. It did not slide around and help me get through the snow.

As of now I am sure there is a lot of things still around from BFG but finding it would be difficult as many people may just have it stashed away and really may not even remember what it was. Many families will just toss it out as the guys who worked on these projects pass on. I have seen it often here in town with many of the older tire company workers. Parts of Airships and racing tires have found their way to land fills because people did not know or care.

I hope this helps some to fill in gaps. Just to note while you may not be able to get a tire from NASA there were many non flight that were from BFG sent out and could still be lurking in a odd place. Keep in mind when you make them you can make as many as you need over what NASA wanted. I think many people over look the sidewall where it said 6 landings and just think its just another airliner tire.

I once found a B70 tire in a gas station here in town once. Go figure.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-27-2013 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hyperv6:
I worked for a company that did most of the display work for BFG and Michelin in the 80's.
Welcome to collectSPACE! Thank you for the additional insight into the history behind the shuttle tire displays and related exhibits.

Other than the globe, what other tire and tire related presentations do you recall being made?

hyperv6
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Clinton, Ohio USA
Registered: Aug 2013

posted 08-28-2013 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6   Click Here to Email hyperv6     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The globe was done before I arrived and I only learned of it when I was given one years after BFG stopped the program.

BFG used the tires often at events and shows but then as the shuttle flights became more common and BFG was split into BFG tire and BFG Aerospace we saw much less on the shuttle being uses.

Not sure but we had a lot of coverage here of the Challenger since Judith Resnik's family was still living here in town. I can still remember the missing man fly over of the NASA Jets.

I know before I arrived, they did have a nose landing gear assembly. From what I was told it was a good sized piece and it was scrapped. I just wish I was there sooner or I could have pulled it out of the trash. I did save a few things but would rather not discuss them.

I do have a high alt glove from the Navy Mark IV suit.

I know Goodyear has a couple tires from the car that NASA used before the Moon Buggy went up. These were pneumatic tires and the only ones ever used. Goodyear had them in their museum they just closed last year.

Hard to say what is still left around town with the tire companies. Since BFG is gone here must is tossed out or taken home by employees.

I have read things here for a good while with interest but I am not a collector. More a space fan and aircraft fan.

I will have to ask my neighbor more on the shuttle tires. I know he said they would all stop work to watch the landings and could often see the tire get damaged and knew they would be sent back to them for investigation. I will have to ask him if they were destroyed or returned to NASA.

I would recommend anyone who is interested in this kind of thing to speak to the people involved now, as once they pass much of this info will be lost.

I do a lot of digging on rare and prototype car parts and it can take years to reach the right person at GM and that is if they are still there. If they are retired you have to track them down. Most are happy to talk. Often I find there is so much more than ever was made public going on.

If I can find out anything more interesting I will post it here.

Note there is a Columbia flown tire at the Cleveland Science Center that was part of the Glen Research Center's collection. That is what got me googling to see what info was out there since the program closed down.

I have one new tire and plan on keeping it. Some day I plan to turn it into a table with a glass top. It is well protected and will be well cared for.

Not sure of the value but it means a lot to me. It is my piece of history form here I Akron.

Note, to let you know how crazy things can get here, the Zeppelin hangar where the Akron and Macon were built still has parts of the Zeppelins in it. Once Lockheed came in control of the hanger a lot of the parts walked away. The lighter than air society did get some parts including fuel tanks and other parts. I did hear from one person that one guy took a 18 foot propeller from the Akron home. It was a spare but he loaded it on a truck and took it home.

Also I saw a guy here years ago with tires from an F-16, or so he claimed on the back of a Pacer. Yes a Pacer. He had it jacked up to fit and they were on some kind of wheel he could get them t fit. They had so many plies that they did not need air. He cut a couple grooves in them to make them legal. They had to be nose wheels? He claimed a buddy at Goodyear got them for him. He said they would never wear out.

Goodyear just removed the life boat from the rafters of the Wingfoot lake hanger that was to have been used on the airship Akron from 1911 I believe. They left Atlantic City to fly to Europe and exploded over the ocean a few miles out. The assembly crew from Goodyear loaded the tools in it and came home. It was put in the rafters and forgotten. They removed it and sent it to the Smithsonian.

Anyway, there is history of flight all around town here but I wonder how much of it is being lost. It scares me.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement