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Thu, 05/30/2024 - 03:55
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Kyoto Univ., Sumitomo Forestry Build World's 1st Wood Satellite

Kyoto, May 29 (Jiji Press)--Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry Co. said Tuesday that they have completed the world's first wooden satellite.


The "LignoSat" satellite is set to be launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station in September, and released into space from the Japanese Kibo experiment module at the ISS the following month.


Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry began developing LignoSat, a cube-shaped microsatellite measuring around 10 centimeters on each side and weighing approximately 1 kilogram, in 2020. They decided to make the satellite out of magnolia, which is strong and has high workability, following experiments of exposing three types of wood to space.


The satellite was assembled using a Japanese traditional technique which does not use screws or adhesives, and has solar panels affixed to the exterior.


After its release into space, LignoSat will undergo measurements to assess the expansion and contraction of wood, internal temperature, geomagnetism, and impact on electronic devices over a six-month period. The data will be transmitted to a communication station at Kyoto University and utilized for the development of a second satellite.


International rules stipulate that satellites must reenter the atmosphere once their missions are complete to prevent space debris. However, conventional satellites produce metal particles when they burn during reentry, posing concerns about atmospheric pollution.


"(LignoSat) is significant for expanding the potential of wood as a sustainable resource and promoting its use," said Takao Doi, astronaut and program-specific professor at Kyoto University. "We want to create wooden living spaces for people in space, such as on the moon and Mars, in the future."