Ferrari has recently faced some tough challenges on the racetrack, but
achieving the qualifications that will allow its famous red paint “Rosso
Corsa” to go into space is another story altogether.

In July, three test containers of Ferrari’s red paint “Rosso Corsa”
arrived at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in
The Netherlands, in order to be tested in preparation for the journey to
the Red Planet on-board Mars Express. Over the following weeks, the red
paint sample, safely installed in a specially constructed glass globe 2cm
in diameter, nicknamed “Fred”, and sunk in a specially designed fibreglass
supporting block, has been undergoing a severe testing process.

Every piece of hardware or science experiment bound for space is tested to
the limit before it sets off into the unknown, where temperatures can drop
way below zero and then rapidly heat up in the Sun’s rays in vacuum
conditions. In the same way, the Ferrari red paint was set to find itself
in some uncomfortable environments over the last three weeks as it was
subjected to the most rigorous examination it had ever experienced.

Early August, Fred began the gruelling ordeal called mechanical testing,
which included being violently shaken to ensure that it can withstand the
vibrations during the launch. Thermal testing, where Fred was subjected to
temperatures between -15 deg C and 40 deg C, followed soon after. The unit was
also successfully vacuum-tested.

Once Fred has proved that it can cope with the foreseen pressure, it will
be well on its way to its official integration into the spacecraft at a
formal ceremony being held in September 2002.


Following the outstanding success of the Scuderia Ferrari with the victory
of Michael Schumacher’s fifth Formula 1 driver championship title, the
Ferrari team has agreed to fly the symbol of its success, a sample of its
distinctive red paint “Rosso Corsa”, on the European Space Agency’s Mars
Express mission, which leaves for the Red Planet in May/June 2003.

High resolution pictures are available on:

For further information visit:

Or contact Hugo MarÈe, project co-ordinator
Tel. +33(0)
Tel. +31(0)71.565.3183

ESA Media Relations Service
Tel. + 33(0)
Fax. + 33(0)