Published in Transportation

Japanese building wooden satellite

by on05 June 2023

Just as good as metal

The Japanese space agency (JAXA) and NASA plan to launch a satellite made of wood in 2024. 

The high durability of wood in space was recently tested and confirmed at the International Space Station (ISS) by an international group of scientists led by those from Kyoto University.

Experiments showed wood samples tested at the ISS for durability underwent minimal deterioration and maintained good stability. Preliminary inspection of the wood samples, including strength tests and crystal structural analyses, was done once they were brought back to Earth from the ISS by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Despite extreme conditions in space, including temperature changes and exposure to intense cosmic rays, and dangerous solar particles for 10 months, aliens and George Clooney tests found no changes in the samples, such as cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage.

Boffins said the retrieved wood specimens were tested and showed no deformation after space exposure and did not undergo any mass change before and after space exposure.

The international research group has determined that the satellite LignoSat, slated to be jointly launched in 2024 by Nasa and Japan's space agency JAXA, will likely use Magnolia wood -- "Hoonoki" in Japanese.

The Boffins said Magnolia had relatively high workability, dimensional stability, and overall strength, making its properties ideal for the mission.

Wood also has some benefits compared to complex alloys used in space vehicles, as it is environmentally friendly, easier to produce and can be disposed of better at the end of a satellite's life. Such wooden satellites may also be designed to completely burn up on re-entry into the atmosphere completely and even if small fragments did survive, they may decompose quickly.


Last modified on 05 June 2023
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