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What Exactly Is Lamborghini Doing on the International Space Station?

At the end of October, Italian car builder Lamborghini announced it would be sending a scientific experiment to the International Space Station. The launch took place at the beginning of November, when a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket lifted from the pad of the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia heading for the International Space Station (ISS).
Lamborghini launching future car parts to the ISS 4 photos
Lamborghini heading for spaceLamborghini heading for spaceLamborghini heading for space
The takeoff and docking went without a hitch, meaning there are now some future Lamborghini car parts being put through their paces by the astronauts on board. More precisely, we're talking about "advanced carbon fiber composite materials."

The project Lamborghini is working on has been developed together with the U.S. National Laboratory and is being overseen by the Houston Methodist Research Institute, an organization working in the medical field.

How these organizations from such diverse fields managed to come together in a joint project is unknown. What matters is the advanced carbon fiber composite materials the Italians are talking about could eventually be used in both car manufacturing and the medical field.

What precisely that means is unclear. For some reason, Lamborghini seems to believe knowing things like how some materials could withstand “the extreme stresses induced by the space environment” would help it make even better cars.

There are five different structures currently being tested in the ISS. They are a 3D-printed continuous-fiber composite (as good as aluminum from a mechanical performance point of view), pre-impregnated epoxy resin, autoclaved polymer fabric, and discontinuous-fiber composites.

So, would car parts tested in space be better than what we can do down here? We're not sure. But at least in the not so distant future Lambo will be able to slap the "engineered in space" moniker to its cars.

Oh, and also, Lamborghini has become the first automaker in the world to conduct carbon fiber materials science research on the ISS, so that should count for something too.

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