ESA INFO 7-2002: Ferrari red paint competes for an extraordinary qualification
20 August 2002Ferrari has recently faced some tough challenges on the racetrack, but achieving the qualifications that will allow its famous red paint 'Rosso Corsa' to go into space is another story altogether.
In July, three test containers of Ferrari's red paint 'Rosso Corsa' arrived at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, in order to be tested in preparation for the journey to the Red Planet on-board Mars Express. Over the following weeks, the red paint sample, safely installed in a specially constructed glass globe 2cm in diameter, nicknamed 'Fred', and sunk in a specially designed fibreglass supporting block, has been undergoing a severe testing process.
Every piece of hardware or science experiment bound for space is tested to the limit before it sets off into the unknown, where temperatures can drop way below zero and then rapidly heat up in the Sun's rays in vacuum conditions. In the same way, the Ferrari red paint was set to find itself in some uncomfortable environments over the last three weeks as it was subjected to the most rigorous examination it had ever experienced. Early August, Fred began the gruelling ordeal called mechanical testing, which included being violently shaken to ensure that it can withstand the vibrations during the launch. Thermal testing, where Fred was subjected to temperatures between -15°C and 40°C, followed soon after. The unit was also successfully vacuum-tested.
Once Fred has proved that it can cope with the foreseen pressure, it will be well on its way to its official integration into the spacecraft at a formal ceremony being held in September 2002.
Note for Editors
Following the outstanding success of the Scuderia Ferrari with the victory of Michael Schumacher's fifth Formula 1 driver championship title, the Ferrari team has agreed to fly the symbol of its success, a sample of its distinctive red paint 'Rosso Corsa', on the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission, which leaves for the Red Planet in May/June 2003.
High resolution pictures are available on: http://redencounter.esa.int
For further information visit: http://redencounter.esa.int
Or contact Hugo Marée, project co-ordinator
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