Sant’Agata Bolognese, ITALY — Two years after the start of the joint research on advanced carbon fiber composite materials initiated by Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket has taken a series of samples produced by Lamborghini to the International Space Station.
Lamborghini is the first automaker in the world to send components developed and produced in-house to the ISS for scientific purposes. The tests will analyze the response of five different composite materials produced by Lamborghini to the extreme stresses induced by the space environment, in view of future applications on its super sports cars and in the medical field. This testing campaign is sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and is overseen by the Houston Methodist Research Institute.
The samples were developed at Lamborghini’s own materials lab, located at the company’s Italian headquarters. One sample is 3D printed, while another uses the “discontinuous fiber” structure first seen on the limited-edition Lamborghini Sesto Elemento in 2010, and currently used on other Lambo production cars. Other samples were made with methods of carbon fiber construction used in race cars and most other current applications.
The carbon fiber samples will be on the ISS for six months. They will be subjected to temperatures ranging from minus 40 degrees to 200 degrees centigrade (minus 40 degrees to 392 degrees Fahrenheit), as well as ultraviolet radiation and gamma rays, according to Lamborghini. The samples will then be brought back to Earth for analysis by Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute.