Why is it that car makers delight in sending bits and bobs of their products into space.

Elon Musk is notorious for sending one of his Tesla cars into space, complete with a dummy called Starman in the driver’s seat.

The electric sports car served as dummy payload for the February, 2018 Falcon Heavy test flight and became an artificial satellite of the Sun.

Before its space flight, the 2008 Roadster served as Musk’s daily drive.

Why the space launch?

Well, it probably seemed like a good idea the the time (and it attracted a lot of publicity).

Ferrari sent something too, or at least it planned to — a sample of its Rosso Corsa red paint on the 2003 Mars Express mission to the Red Planet (of course).

And Lamborghini has just revealed that it has sent some carbon composite materials on the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launched a couple of days ago from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The rocket is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) and is carrying a series of sample composite materials produced by Automobili Lamborghini.

The launch is part of a testing campaign sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and overseen by the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

And, no, it’s got nothing to do with launch control.

The joint research on advanced carbon fibre composite materials was initiated two years ago between Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

The goal is to analyse the response of five different composite materials produced by Lamborghini to the extreme stresses induced by the space environment.

The research could have future application in cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese and in the medical field where the materials could be used for artificial limbs.

“We are very proud,” Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali said.

“Lamborghini is breaking ground as the first automaker in the world to conduct carbon fibre materials science research on the ISS.

“In addition to representing an important example of corporate social responsibility, this mission is also fully in line with our philosophy and values.

“Lamborghini is a brand that has always been committed to going beyond limits in every area of its activity and to being a pioneer in the realm of technology.”

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.