The world's first wooden satellite is ready for launch in 2024 and China has nothing to do with this new project –

News JVTech The world’s first wooden satellite is ready for launch in 2024, and China has nothing to do with this new project

Published on December 20, 2023 at 11:05 a.m


Does a wooden satellite seem unlikely to you? And yet it is the latest creation of NASA, which has teamed up with the Japanese Space Agency to implement this project. And the reason for this initiative is ultimately quite logical.

With the acceleration of space conquest in recent years, as well as the proliferation of communications satellites such as those from SpaceX, Space is becoming trash. Today that is appreciated 11,000 tons of debris orbits the Earth : Rocket fragments, decommissioned satellites and other spare parts are becoming major problems for the various space agencies, but also for sky observers. Metal waste therefore represents a real threat in this context.both in terms of collision risks in space and light pollution visible from Earth.

How can this situation be improved? For NASA, the American space agency, and JAXA, the Japanese space agency, this could pass the design of satellites from a material rarely found in the aerospace sector : Wood.

LignoSat, the first artificial wooden satellite

On the initiative of this international project we find Researchers from Kyoto University who looked at the sustainability of certain types of wood in space, by sending samples to the ISS. “Despite the extreme space environment with significant temperature fluctuations and ten months of exposure to intense cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles, tests have confirmed no decay or deformation such as cracking, deformation, peeling or surface damage,” explains a press release published last October.

Image of the satellite (Source: Dall-E)

The world's first wooden satellite is scheduled to launch in 2024, and China has nothing to do with this new project

Magnolia wood performed best : It should be in the middle the creation of the LignoSat satellitewhose introduction is planned from 2024. Handy, with excellent overall strength and good dimensional stability, Magnolia wood should therefore help create a truly sustainable satellite. And the scientists at JAXA and NASA can rely on that the expertise of Japanese carpenters to support them in this initiative.

The advantages of a wooden satellite in space

Wood does not burn or rot in the vacuum of space. On the other hand, It ignites when it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, which means that in this context no piece of debris hits the earth. Scientists see this material as a future solution to make the conquest of space more sustainable and less invasive. However, there is still a long way to go before the satellites are all made of wood.

As a matter of fact, LignoSat will be very small : It will measure approximately 10 cm side. But it will be a great first that should later allow science to take a big step forward. NASA and JAXA will release news on this project later next yearTherefore, for space lovers, it is a case to follow closely.