Japan will launch the world’s first wooden satellite into space this year

Japan has developed the world’s first wooden satellite. It is called LignoSat, The Guardian reports.

The probe was made by Japanese scientists from magnolia wood. They chose this particular tree because it performed best in tests conducted on the ISS. Preparations for the launch are already nearing completion, and the satellite will be launched into orbit by an American rocket this summer.

Modern satellites do not stay in orbit forever; they return to Earth and burn up in the upper atmosphere. As a result, aluminum microparticles accumulate in the atmosphere. In the long run, this can have a negative impact on the environment.

To address this problem, researchers have launched a project to evaluate wood types to determine how well they can withstand the harsh conditions of space launches and long flights in orbit around the Earth. The first tests were carried out in laboratories that reproduced the conditions of space. It turned out that the wood samples did not show any noticeable changes in weight, signs of decomposition or damage.

The samples were then sent to the ISS, where they were exposed to the impact tests for almost a year before being returned to Earth. Once again, they showed no signs of damage, which is because there is no oxygen in space that could cause wood to catch fire and no living things that could cause it to rot.

One of the satellite’s missions is to measure the deformation of wooden structures in space. Wood is strong and stable in one direction, but can be prone to resizing and cracking in another direction.

To date, the final decision on the launch vehicle has not yet been made, and the choice has now been narrowed down to a flight this summer on Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus supply ship to the ISS or a similar SpaceX Dragon mission later this year. The probe is expected to operate in space for at least six months before re-entering the upper atmosphere.