The automaker's sending its advanced composites to live in the International Space Station to see how they hold up.
Lamborghini and Porsche may be sister companies, but even within the Volkswagen Group, they've been at each other like sibling rivals – trading, for example, Nurburgring lap records over the past few years. And now they're taking their rivalry into orbit.
Just the other day, Porsche announced a partnership with Lucasfilm that will see the German performance automaker design a space ship to celebrate the premier of the next Star Wars movie. Not to be outdone, Lamborghini is preparing to head to the International Space Station to further the development of advanced composites.
The initiative, far more "material" than Porsche's fantastical partnership with Lucasfilm, will see Lamborghini sending a variety of composite samples to the orbital station to see how they might be affected by the conditions in space. Samples will include traditional pre-impregnated epoxy resin and autoclave-baked polymer fabric, as well as the advanced discontinuous-fiber composite first used in the Sesto Elemento and a new 3D-printed continuous-fiber composite. All have been developed by Lamborghini's own "Centro Sviluppo Compositi" (Composites Development Center) and ACLSD (Advanced Composites and Lightweight Structures Development) laboratory at its headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese.
The samples are scheduled to be sent up to the ISS next month from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, and will stay up there for six months to see how they hold up to extreme temperatures (ranging from -40 to +200 degrees Celsius), ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and other forms of solar radiation. Once back on Earth, they'll be returned for analysis by Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute – not only for use in cars and aerospace, but for potential medical applications as well.
There's no word yet on any potential timeline for vehicle production, but the fact that Lamborghini is even pursuing this project is quite interesting.