Wood satellite finally finished, scheduled for September liftoff

LignoSat, the world's first wooden satellite, unveiled at Kyoto University in Kyoto on Tuesday. May 28.

Photo By Kyoto University (video screenshot)

After four years in development, Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese logging and processing company, have completed LignoSat, the world's first wooden artificial satellite.

LignoSat, which was shown to the world on May 28 appears to have beaten out a competing wooden satellite known as WISA Woodsat, developed in Finland and made from specially treated birch plywood, is expected to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station in September, with deployment from the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo slated for approximately one month later.

Made with Magnolia wood, the 10-cubic-centimeter probe was assembled using a traditional Japanese technique that doesn't require any screws or glue and is equipped with external solar panels. Woodworking Network has reached out to researchers at Kyoto University for a more thorough description of the construction technique and will update this story as more information becomes available.

Magnolia was one of three wood species exposed to the harsh vacuum of space by the International Space Station (ISS) in a research project led by Kyoto University. Despite the extreme environment of outer space involving significant temperature changes and exposure to intense cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles for 10 months, tests confirmed no decomposition or deformations, such as cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage.

The World Economic Forum called this a significant step toward eco-friendly space exploration. "This groundbreaking initiative aims to address the growing concerns of space debris and pave the way for a more sustainable future in orbit."

Traditional satellites, built with aluminum, release harmful particles when they re-enter Earth's atmosphere, potentially damaging the delicate ozone layer, according to the World Economic Forum.





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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).