World’s first wooden satellite built by Japanese researchers


5/28: CBS Evening News


Tokyo – The world's first wooden satellite has been built by Japanese researchers who said their small cuboid craft is scheduled to be carried into space on a SpaceX rocket in September.

Each side of the experimental satellite developed by scientists at Kyoto University and forestry company Sumitomo Forestry measures four inches.

The creators hope the wooden material will burn up completely when the device re-enters the atmosphere, which could provide a way to prevent the creation of metallic particles when a retired satellite returns to Earth.

The metallic particles could have a negative impact on the environment and telecommunications, the developers said when they announced the completion of the satellite on Tuesday.

The world's first wooden satellite, called LignoSat, developed by scientists from Kyoto University and forestry company Sumitomo Forestry, is shown during a press conference at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan on May 28 of 2024.

STR/JIJI PRESS / AFP via Getty Images

“Satellites that are not made of metal should become mainstream,” Takao Doi, an astronaut and special professor at Kyoto University, told a news conference.

The developers plan to deliver the satellite, made of magnolia wood and called LignoSat, to the space agency JAXA next week.

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

From there, the satellite will be released from the Japanese ISS experimental module to test its strength and durability.

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

Also Tuesday, a rocket carrying a separate sophisticated satellite, a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and JAXA, blasted off from California on a mission to investigate the role clouds might play in the fight against climate change.

The EarthCARE satellite will orbit nearly 250 miles above Earth for three years.


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