Lamborghini’s pioneering carbon fiber used in the construction of its supercar after having conquered the world of high-performance automobiles is set to make its way to the outer space. The famed Italian automaker has teamed up with Houston Methodist Research Institute and will send five samples of carbon fiber to the International Space Station (ISS) for testing. An unmanned Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will carry the samples onboard the International Space Station, which will make Lamborghini the first automaker to conduct materials science research on the ISS. The samples will be studied for six months at the ISS where analyses will be made on its ability to withstand temperature fluctuations ranging from minus 40 degrees to 200 degrees centigrade, radiation exposure, vacuum and atomic oxygen exposure. “Environmental conditions at low-Earth orbit allow us to evaluate the properties and robustness of the carbon fiber materials under extreme conditions,” said Alessandro Grattoni, Ph.D., study principal investigator and chair of the department of nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute. “This is a unique environment to learn more about their properties and characteristics, in the hope of one day developing technologies and devices that could be used on Earth and in space.”
An agreement was signed in 2017 between Lamborghini and Houston Methodist Research Institute to jointly research the biocompatibility of composite materials. The carbon fiber samples were developed at Lamborghini’s own materials lab, which includes a 3-D-printed and a continuous-fiber composite. What’s interesting is that the study will explore the application of these materials outside of the automobile industry as well. The study will analyze if the materials can be utilized for general manufacturing and medical purposes. The rocket carrying Lamborghini’s samples is scheduled to launch from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on November 2.