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Automobili Lamborghini in outer space? 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 will carry onboard the International Space Station a series of samples of composite materials produced by Automobili Lamborghini. The launch will take place at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia no earlier than November 2. Lamborghini is the first automaker in the world to send components developed and produced in-house to the ISS for scientific purposes.
The reaction of composite materials in the space environment
The tests aim at analyzing 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.
Not just super sports cars: biocompatibility and medical applications
The mission is the result of the agreement signed two years ago between Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, and Mauro Ferrari, then President and CEO of the research institute and now President of the European Research Council. The joint research project, for which Lamborghini is collaborating free of charge, focuses on studying the biocompatibility of the composite materials to determine their possible use in prosthetic implants, but also in subcutaneous devices, taking advantage of their particular properties of light weight, radio transparency and radio compatibility.
A “tricolor” space mission
The launch to the ISS orbital station bears the three colors of the Italian flag: the Italian contribution is represented not only by Lamborghini but also by Dr. Alessandro Grattoni, chairman of the Department of Nanomedicine of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and by astronaut Luca Parmitano who, on his second stint onboard the ISS, has just become its commander, an absolute first for Italy.
Science and corporate social responsibility
“We are very proud,” remarked Stefano Domenicali. “Lamborghini is the first automaker in the world to send components developed and produced in-house to the ISS for scientific purposes. In addition to representing an important example of corporate social responsibility, this mission is also fully in line with our philosophy and values. Lamborghini is a brand that has always been committed to going beyond limits in every area of its activity and to being a pioneer in the realm of technology.”