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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle: Goodyear vs. GM

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Author Topic:   Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle: Goodyear vs. GM
garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-15-2011 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Goodyear is running a series of ads that show (among other things) the Apollo lunar rover on the moon, and the text on the screen implies that these are Goodyear tires.

But documents from the Apollo missions say that General Motors built the rover, including its tires. Note that it did not have pneumatic rubber tires as we know them, rather a woven mesh construction was used.

Does anyone know the truth? Did Goodyear build them under contract to GM? Or perhaps Goodyear has recently paid for some kind of commercial endorsement?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-15-2011 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Goodyear's claims to the lunar rover tires, in their advertising and in press statements, has been the subject of a considerable e-mailed conversation between several of the General Motors' retirees who actually designed and built the rover's wheels.

I was brought into the discussion only because one of our articles cited Goodyear's statements.

Goodyear made contributions to rover designs (Surveyor Lunar Roving Vehicle and Mobile Lunar Laboratory, or MOLAB) that preceded but didn't influence the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV).

It's therefore not clear what Goodyear is basing its claims on, other than perhaps a misunderstanding over what rover(s) they had participated in.

I believe David Clow is writing an article for Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly about General Motors Defense Research Laboratory and the history of the rover's development.

Neil Aldrin
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Posts: 83
From:
Registered: Feb 2010

posted 11-17-2011 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it possible that Goodyear tires were used on the Earth-based rover "trainers"? Didn't those rovers have pneumatic tires?

If that is the case it's quite an advertising stretch.

LM-12
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Posts: 809
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-17-2011 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Goodyear made the tires for the Apollo 14 MET. I recall seeing a full-page newspaper ad back then with the slogan First on Earth. First on the Moon. I am pretty sure it was a Goodyear ad and I am pretty sure it was about the MET.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-17-2011 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Goodyear's corporate timeline does include:
The first tires on the moon — Apollo 14's MET (Modularized Equipment Transporter) was shod with Goodyear's XLT Tires.
NASA/TM 2009-215798 "The Development of Wheels for the Lunar Roving Vehicle" establishes that the wheel design for the MET and the LRV were "distinctly different." So it would seem that while Goodyear has a bona fide claim to tires on the moon, it is still incorrect to imply they were on a rover.

David Carey
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Posts: 287
From:
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 11-17-2011 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I believe David Clow is writing an article for Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly about General Motors Defense Research Laboratory and the history of the rover's development.
David published one article in Quest already (Vol 18, Number 1 / 2011) about Ferenc Pavlics and his work at GM Defense Research Laboratory (renamed to AC-Electronics Defense Research Laboratory in May 1968 and LRV Prime Contractor).

A great writeup/interview and to quote:

Boeing would handle the power system, navigation, communication, and integration with the LM, and GM would do the vehicle itself including the chassis, wheels, suspension, steering, electric drive, controls, and displays.
The only mention of Goodyear in the article that I could find was that...
Pavlics brought his tire to Akron where he tutored engineers at Goodyear on the finer points of its manufacture.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 809
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-18-2011 06:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not sure what Goodyear was claiming with respect to the rover. What was the exact wording of the commercial? It might not be running in other countries.

KSC-70C-156BW is a pre-launch NASA photo of the Apollo 14 MET installed on the Lunar Module. You can clearly see the Goodyear logo on the tires.

spaceman1953
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Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 11-19-2011 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were a couple/several different Lunar Rover mockups made by different companies trying to secure the bid for the eventual LRVs. Could Goodyear have been involved in making tires for some of those other rejected LRVs?

I am sure there are those of you "out there" know know way more about this than I do!

All times are CT (US)

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