Stronger than aluminum and burn better: A wooden satellite will be launched in 2024

A research team from Kyoto University is going to create an extraordinary satellite that will be made of wood. According to them, the launch of this unique spacecraft is scheduled for next summer as part of a joint mission of Japan’s space agency (JAXA) and NASA.

Animation of the LignoSat satellite as part of the J-Cube project

Despite the fact that this choice of material may seem unusual, scientists say that the tree is ideal for use in space conditions. 

Koji Murata, one of the project researchers from Kyoto University, explains: “When you use wood on Earth, you have the problems of burning, rotting, and deformation, but in space, you don’t have those problems.”

The body of the LignoSat satellite is made of magnolia wood. Photo: JAXA

According to Murata, wood has the same strength as aluminum. Also, this material is environmentally friendly and easily burns up in the atmosphere after the decommissioning of the spacecraft. Therefore, the project is a fascinating look into the future. It can solve the problem of space debris and save space agencies’ money.

Wooden LignoSat

The new satellite, named LignoSat, is made of magnolia wood and will be tested during the J-Cube program aimed at developing the latest space technologies. The main purpose of the experiment is to observe its behavior in extreme conditions in open space for at least six months.

Animation of the LignoSat satellite as part of the J-Cube project

“There is not much reduction in strength from minus 150 to 150 degrees Celsius (-238 to 302 degrees Fahrenheit), we confirmed that in our experiments,” Murata explains.

In addition to the environmental benefits, researchers consider wood an effective material for the shell of spacecraft, believing that it can serve as protection from harmful radiation. This is especially important for astronauts.

As strange as it may sound, the J-Cube project can not only solve the problem of space debris but also open the door to innovative solutions in the field of technology, showing that even such a natural material as wood can find its application in space.

Earlier we reported on how scientists created a beam to attract objects in space.

According to CNN

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