Japan creates wooden satellites into space

Japan creates wooden satellites into space

Where did the idea of ​​wooden satellites come from, huh? Well, imagine this: Currently, traditional satellites used by engineering are made of metal alloys. Now there are hundreds or even thousands of them flying around Earth’s orbit. After it reaches the end of its useful life, what does it become? Yes, space junk! The waste is quickly drawn into the atmosphere and decomposes into mineral particles, which in turn endangers the cherished, essential and fragile ozone layer.

Japanese scientists from Kyoto University wondered if there was a chance to reduce the environmental impacts caused by satellite debris falling on us. They seem to have found a solution that is sustainable, environmental and very interesting. Keep reading this Engineering 360 text to learn more!


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Wooden satellites

A new initiative to reduce the problem of space debris

See what Japanese scientists thought of: satellites made of wood! Thus, they developed the LingoSat project, a satellite Magnolia wood.

Satellites made from natural materials can be a more sustainable alternative to traditional metal satellites. This is because they can be biodegradable. This way, we will have less space debris and environmental impacts will be reduced. Another advantage is that, in theory, their production will be easier and cheaper compared to metal alloys.

This innovative approach could turn space exploration into a more responsible activity!

See also: Sustainable “wood” made from cedar and PVC from Braskem in Brazil


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Proposing the use of wood in building satellites

Basically, what Japanese scientists thought about how to facilitate the “retirement process” of satellites used by science. They ended up choosing magnolia, after testing German birch and Japanese cherry. It is estimated that a device made of this material will burn up while reentering Earth and naturally decompose into gas. Ultimately, the amount of debris will be minimal.

Wooden satellite
Reproduction image via Tudo Celular

Wood is a structural material that is resistant even to extreme conditions, without decaying, cracking or warping – this has already been proven in tests on the International Space Station (ISS).

Test results to verify feasibility

Testing the feasibility of wooden satellites involves sending wooden samples into space and testing their resilience to space conditions on the International Space Station – for example, to changes in temperature, solar radiation and cosmic rays. At that time, magnolia wood showed more uniformity in its cells, which made working easier and reduced the possibility of cracks or fractures. The resistance was great even after prolonged exposure to the harsh outer space environment.

Wooden satellite
Image reproduced from Kyoto University via CNN Brasil
Wooden satellite
Image reproduced from Kyoto University via CNN Brasil

Predictions and plans related to wooden satellites

Japanese scientists at Kyoto University have high expectations that these wooden satellites will begin launching into space in 2024. This will happen in a joint mission between JAXA (Japan Aerospace Agency) and NASA. (North American Space Agency) .

Today, in addition to these companies, the Finnish startup Arctic Astronautics is also developing a wooden satellite called WISA Woodsat. However, the Finnish satellite launch was delayed due to bureaucratic obstacles related to obtaining licenses for space operations.

See also:

Future private space stations

sources: CNN Brazil.

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Engineering 360

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We are a team of people passionate about innovation, with our “DNA” in engineering. Our goal is to show the world the presence and beauty of geometry in our lives and all the transformation it can foster in society.

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