Space technologies to help Pescarolo Sport team in Dakar Rally

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Pescarolo Sport have concluded a technology partnership agreement under which space technologies and know-how will be used initially on the Dakar Rally in January, and then during the Le Mans 24-hour race.

This project is one of the activities being carried out under ESA’s technology transfer programme, the purpose of which is to promote space technologies and foster development of their use in day-to-day life.

On 1 January the French driver Henri Pescarolo and his Belgian navigator Serge De Liedekerke will set off on this the 25th Dakar Rally in a ‘space-rated’ vehicle in which they will test newly developed products derived from European space technologies. “This is a unique opportunity, stresses Pierre Brisson, head of ESA’s technology transfer programme, for yet another demonstration of how technologies developed for space can help improve our life on Earth”.

Applying space technologies to make a vehicle safer or the people in it more comfortable so that they can perform to a higher standard ­ that is the challenge taken up by the technology transfer programme and its European industrial partners in this adventure.

Bertin Technologies and other partners were commissioned to study the feasibility of transferring certain technologies, and they came up with four products with interesting potential for this experiment:

-The car has been fitted with a new thermal insulation material to lower the temperature inside and give added protection against the risk of fire. -A cooling system has been incorporated into the crew’s helmets, so that they will literally be able to keep a cool head throughout the rally. -Self-refrigerating drink cans derived from digital simulation techniques developed for ESA and food rations developed for manned space programmes will be tested during the rally.

Other technologies are still under investigation with a view to their incorporation.