FIRST WOODEN SATELLITE BREAKS NEW GROUND IN SUSTAINABLE SPACE EXPLORATION. ARE WOODEN SPACE SHELTERS NEXT?

In May 2023, researchers at Kyoto University and the Japanese-based wood manufacturing company Sumitomo Forestry unveiled the world’s first wooden satellite, breaking new ground in space technology.

Called the LignoSat, this small cube (around 10 centimeters, or 3 inches) contains solar panels and circuit boards built into its wooden sides. These panels contain special fittings that don’t require adhesive but allow the sides to interlock into place using traditional Japanese wood-carving techniques.

The project began slowly in 2020. Since its unveiling, the satellite has been transferred from its research facility to JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), where it will undergo further durability testing before being transferred to the ISS in September 2024. LignoSat will then be launched into orbit in November.

Surprisingly, wood has proven to be an eco-friendly choice for space instruments. Its easy combustibility makes it a more environmentally friendly alternative to metal satellites, offering a promising step towards sustainable space exploration.