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Space Tech Geared To The Car

A Nuna car full-scale model on display drew much attention at K2001, the world's biggest trade fair for plastics and rubber, October/November 2001. The Dutch Alpha Centuri Team used many materials originating from space in constructing one of the most efficient solar vehicles ever build. This high-tech racer Nuna uses lightweight materials such as carbon fibres, synthetic resin and foam plastics in around one third of the total car. The aerodynamics and the technology used to join plastics were first used for space vehicles re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. High performance solar cells will push the car up to 160 km/h in the 3010 kilometre solar-race through Australia starting 18 November 2001. Credits: ESA - P. Nielsen
Galileo and cars - Real: Dial-up

Galileo and cars - Real: Broadband

Galileo and cars - Win: Dial-up

Galileo and cars - Win: BroadBand

Paris (ESA) 26 September 2002
From 28 September to 13 October, the European Space Agency (ESA) makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show (Porte de Versailles, Hall 2/2, stand 515). Its presence might seem surprising but on closer analysis is fully justified; over 40 years of breakthroughs and advances have left the space sector ready to play a full role in the car industry.

The space sector now represents all that is truly successful and innovative in technological research. Launching rockets, manoeuvring satellites and sending people into space calls for technologies that are highly relevant to the car manufacturing industry. These technologies can be used for producing vehicles that are more efficient, more economical, safer, more environmentally friendly and smarter too.

Performance and safety
Space is a hostile environment due to solar radiation, particle impacts and the intense cold of deep space.

Journeying through it to study the planets, Sun and stars calls for very tough but also light, reliable materials.

Such materials are now contributing to car safety and efficiency. An example is the airbag, which is based on a technology developed for space.

Cheap Clean Energy
Because a spacecraft is unable to carry much fuel and cannot refuel in-flight, other routes to autonomy have had to be explored. Solar power, coupled with constantly improving storage methods, enables spacecraft to travel for very long periods over huge distances. These new possibilities have been used on Earth with the solar car Nuna, which last year won the World Solar Challenge in Australia, beating four world records. The Sun, whose functioning is better understood thanks to ESA's scientific work, is a cheap, clean and virtually inexhaustible source of energy.

With satellite positioning, car drivers have a genuine onboard guide at all times, indicating location and helping to decide on the best route. Galileo, the European navigation system, will soon be offering the precision required to locate vehicles in urban areas. Space exploration has been accompanied by advances in computing and miniaturisation and those advances are now enabling vehicles to react and guide drivers.

What has been done in space can also be achieved on Earth.

This car of the future, which will be more efficient and economical, more in tune with the environment and more intelligent, is no longer a product of science fiction but a reality stemming from space exploration.

Related Links
Nuna wins the World Solar Challenge!
Space technology for McLaren at the British Grand Prix
Navigate via the web with the SISNeT receiver
ESA's Navigation homepage
ESA brochure 'Cars and Trucks' (.pdf 1347 Kb)
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ESA/EC To Boost Space-Related Entrepreneurs
Paris (ESA) Sep 19, 2002
European entrepreneurs using space technology and systems now have a better chance of starting up in business thanks to the European Space Incubators Network (ESINET), launched this summer by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC).

Euro GPS System Gets A Road Test
Turin - Nov. 6, 2000
A Fiat car is putting a European satellite navigation system through its paces in Turin, Italy this week. EGNOS, which is being developed by a collaboration led by the European Space Agency, will be monitoring the car's position on a map with an accuracy of close to one metre.

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