Bicycle Company Helps Rover to Ride on Mars
What is the connection between the Mars rover Curiosity which is on Mars right now and the bicycle industry? A bicycle company helped with the design of the Mars rover Curiosity and is part of a $2.5 billion NASA project.
In 2007, NASA engineers working on the Mars rover Curiosity faced some design challenges with the suspension system. “They needed somebody who fabricates titanium in a specific way for their specific vehicle”, says Brad DeVaney who leads the product development division at Litespeed in Chattanooga in the US. “And our name came up.”
Litespeed stepped up to the galactic challenge of designing the titanium suspension arms for the cosmic rover. “They are actually attached to the wheels, so they enable the wheels to climb over rocks and into gullies and give it the mobility it needs in that rough terrain,” says DeVaney. “It may be hard to believe the same titanium used to make a bicycle frame would be used on a space rover. But titanium is the perfect material because it is very durable, resistant to corrosion and extremely light-weight.”
CEO and owner Peter Hurley is proud of this assignment “It is an honor to take part in the historical mission and I am flattered NASA engineers relied on our team to help make it happen”, says Hurley. “We are very, very proud of it. In fact all of us signed our names on the product. It’s all there sitting on Mars right now, which is wonderful.”