Japan to launch world’s 1st wooden satellite in September

Japan is set to make history by launching the world’s first wooden satellite this September. The innovative satellite, named LignoSat, was created through a collaboration between researchers at Kyoto University and the Japanese logging company Sumitomo Forestry. Measuring just 4 inches on each side and weighing a mere 2 pounds, LignoSat will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for deployment into orbit.

Crafted using a traditional Japanese technique that eliminates the need for screws or glue, LignoSat features external solar panels and components made from magnolia wood sourced from a Sumitomo Forestry forest. This unique choice of material was based on its strength and workability following space exposure tests conducted on various wood types.

Once in orbit, researchers will closely monitor LignoSat’s performance in space, including its reaction to the harsh environment, wood expansion, contraction, degradation, internal temperature, and electronic equipment functionality. The success of this wooden satellite could pave the way for more environmentally friendly satellite reentries, as traditional satellites’ metal components can release harmful particles upon reentry.

Takao Doi, an astronaut and professor at Kyoto University, emphasized the significance of exploring wood as a sustainable resource, envisioning the potential for constructing human habitats using wood in space on celestial bodies like the moon and Mars. The development of LignoSat commenced in April 2020, with thorough ground tests conducted to ensure its safety and functionality for the upcoming launch in September.

As the world eagerly anticipates this groundbreaking event, the possibilities for utilizing wood in space technology may revolutionize future space exploration missions. Stay tuned for updates on this monumental milestone and the latest advancements in the realm of space exploration.