The Space Shuttle Discovery
touched down on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California today on a
set of Michelin tires, completing the program’s 100th mission.

Michelin Aircraft Tire Corp. has been the exclusive supplier of space
shuttle tires for more than 11 years.
Made to exacting standards, Michelin
Air tires are produced for the space shuttle program at the company’s facility
in Norwood, N.C.

“Michelin is proud to be part of the space shuttle program because NASA,
like America’s drivers, ‘has a lot riding on Michelins.’
Our specially
crafted tires were chosen because they meet the unique demands of space flight
and touchdown,” said Bill Van Someren, vice president for Michelin Aircraft
Tire Corp.

Michelin mounts four tires on the main landing gear (44.5×16.0-21, each
weighing 205 lbs.) and two tires on the nose gear (32×8.8 weighing 50 lbs.
The shuttle tires are obsessively engineered and subject to the most
stringent quality assurance standards.
Because of their extremely heavy
loads, the tires are inflated to 340 PSI (main gear) and 300 PSI (nose gear).

Produced from the highest quality materials, each tire is x-ray inspected
and shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio for further
Tires are pre-rolled on a dynamometer and shearographed (similar to
holography) to assure the highest quality standards.
Michelin and NASA have a
stringent zero-anomaly standard.

Tires are then sent to the Kennedy Space Center to be mounted on the
Each set of tires is designed to withstand not only the severe
landing conditions of the massive orbiter at speeds of up to 259 mph, but also
the extremely cold temperatures (as low as -45 degrees Fahrenheit) sustained
during space flight.

“Michelin is extremely proud of our history and our contributions to tire
technology,” said Van Someren.
“From the space shuttle program to sports car
racing to the tires on the family minivan, Michelin’s mission is to provide
customers with the best possible product.
Welcome home, Discovery. We’ll be
ready for the next shuttle launch too.”

About Michelin

A leader and innovator in the tire industry for more than one hundred
years, Michelin invented the radial tire in 1946, for which the company
received the “Most Significant Tire Achievement in the Twentieth Century” ITEC
Grand Trilogy Award (sponsored jointly by Rubber and Plastics News and
Smither’s Scientific Services).
Also, Michelin has won 24 of 32 possible J.D.
Power & Associates awards for customer satisfaction, more than all the other
tire manufacturers combined.

Michelin manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including
airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty
trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle.
The group also publishes travel
guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America, Inc. employs 26,500
and operates 21 plants in 19 locations.