You are looking at one of the most advanced tires ever developed.
Number of Tires on the Space Shuttle:
4 – main landing gear tires 44.5 x 16.0-21, 34 Ply, 263 mph
2 – nose landing gear tires 32 x 8.8, 20 ply, 250 mph
- Space Shuttle tires are filled with nitrogen (as are most aircraft tires) due to its stability at different altitudes and temperatures. Due to the extremely heavy loads these bias ply tires are inflated to 340 psi (main gear) and 300 psi (nose gear).
- The main landing gear shuttle tires are only used one time and the nose landing gear are used for two landings.
- Weight: Since weight is of extreme importance, these tires are designed with a minimum amount o tread to conserve weight, allowing for larger payloads. A few pounds may not seem to make much difference, but added up all of the ways to decrease weight throughout the Shuttle it can have a significant impact.
(Data supplied by Michelin Aircraft Tire Corporation, the sole tire supplier to the NASA Space Shuttle)