Japan will launch the world’s first wooden satellite in September


Japan plans to launch the world’s first wooden satellite in September.

The experimental satellite, called Lignoza, was developed by researchers from Kyoto University and Japanese logging company Sumitomo Forestry. It is set to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in September, after which it will be placed in orbit the Japan Times.

Lignoza is a small cube that measures 10 centimeters on one side and weighs just over 0.9 kilograms. It is made using a traditional Japanese technique that requires no screws or glue and is equipped with external solar panels.

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The parts of the satellite that would normally be made of aluminum are instead made of magnolia wood sourced from a Sumitomo Forestry forest. Magnolia wood was “selected for its strength and workability after space exposure tests were conducted on cherry, birch and magnolia wood chips,” the Japan Times reported.

The satellite will be deployed approximately one month after arriving in the orbiting laboratory Japanese Kibo module. Researchers will study how it holds up in the harsh environment of space and collect data about it wood extensioncontraction and degradation, along with internal temperature and electronic equipment performance.


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If LignoSat does well, new doors could open to reduce the environmental impact of satellite reentry. Traditional satellites can deposit harmful metal particles into space the Earth’s atmosphere when they fall back to our planet and burn up in our skies.

“Expanding the potential of wood as sustainable resource is significant,” Takao Doi, an astronaut and professor at Kyoto University, told the Japan Times. “We aim to build human habitats using wood in space, such as on the Moon and Mars, in the future.”

Development for LignoSat began in April 2020 and ground testing has been completed to ensure the functionality and safety of the satellite’s launch into space in September.

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