NASA earlier this year launched an initiative to partner with private companies to try out their products in orbit, and automotive, consumer goods and even entertainment enterprises lined up to send their goods to the International Space Station.
A supply ship launched over the weekend, for example, included components from Lamborghini’s sports cars and a small, zero-gravity test oven among its cargo.
This week, footwear and apparel giant Adidas announced that it, too, would partner with the ISS to try out its product development absent the usual limits of Earth’s gravity. The company will send pellets of its proprietary expanded thermoplastic polyurethane — known as Boost — to the ISS as part of a launch reportedly set for sometime next year.
Once safely in orbit, astronauts will fill a mold of a shoe midsole with the material to examine — with a high-speed camera — how the pellets move and interact in space. The company says learning about how the pellets move with much less interference from gravity could help engineers optimize its shoes back on the ground.
And one day, who knows? The launch could be a precursor to manufacturing shoes — among many, many other items — high above the Earth’s surface.