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World’s First Wooden Satellite Set for Launch by SpaceX This September

Japan has unveiled a groundbreaking innovation in space technology: the world’s first wooden satellite. Scientists from Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry have successfully developed LignoSat, which is scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) this September.

Development of LignoSat

The journey to create LignoSat began in April 2020, with a focus on producing an environmentally friendly satellite. Magnolia wood was chosen for its exceptional strength and workability, standing out among other contenders such as cherry and birch wood chips. The satellite has undergone extensive space exposure tests to ensure its suitability for the harsh conditions of space.

Pre-Launch Preparations

LignoSat will soon be handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and subsequently shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. From there, it will be launched aboard a SpaceX rocket. After reaching the ISS, it will be deployed from the Japanese Module approximately one month after its arrival.

Unique Construction and Design

Measuring just 10 cubic centimeters, LignoSat is an example of innovative design and traditional craftsmanship. As reported by The Japan Times, the satellite has been assembled using a traditional Japanese technique that negates the need for screws or glue. It also features external solar panels to power its operations.

Safety and Compatibility

Ensuring the safety and compatibility of LignoSat with the ISS and its crew has been a priority. The developers have conducted thorough tests to confirm that the wood does not pose any health or safety risks to astronauts, nor does it interfere with the station’s equipment and components.

Mission Objectives

During the six months following its launch, LignoSat will collect valuable data on various parameters, including wood expansion and contraction, internal temperature, geomagnetism, and the performance of its electronic equipment. This data will be instrumental in the development of LignoSat-2, paving the way for future wooden satellites.

Environmental Impact

A key goal of LignoSat is to address the issue of space debris. Unlike metal satellites, which can contribute to space junk, the wooden LignoSat is designed to burn up easily in the atmosphere during re-entry. This environmentally conscious approach aims to reduce the risks associated with space debris, promoting a more sustainable future for space exploration.

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