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The first wooden satellite built in Japan

  • May 29, 2024
  • 4 Min
  • 11

The world’s first wooden satellite, called LignoSat, presented during a press conference at Kyoto University, May 28, 2024 JIJI PRESS/AFP STR

The very first satellite built from wood should take off aboard a SpaceX rocket in September, announced the Japanese researchers who achieved this world first.

This cubic experimental satellite developed by scientists from Kyoto University and forestry company Sumitomo Forestry measures 10 cm on a side.

Its creators expect that the wood will burn completely when the device re-enters the atmosphere, which will prevent the formation of metal particles when the satellite returns to Earth.

“Satellites that are not made of metal should be preferred,” Takao Doi, an astronaut and special professor at Kyoto University, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Developers plan to hand over the LignoSat satellite, made from magnolia wood, to the Japanese space agency JAXA next week.

It will be sent into space aboard a SpaceX rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in September, bound for the International Space Station (ISS), they said.

The satellite will then be released from the Japanese experimental module of the ISS to test its strength and durability in space.

“The data will be sent from the satellite to researchers who can check for signs of stress and whether it can withstand huge temperature changes,” a Sumitomo Forestry spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a rocket carrying another satellite – a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and JAXA – took off from California on a mission to study the role clouds could play in combating climate change.

The EarthCARE satellite will orbit nearly 400 km above Earth for three years.

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