A wooden satellite Maybe. If Leonardo da Vinci had raised his head, he would certainly agree with this statement. But the truth is that it seems somewhat unconventional given that these devices are usually made from metal, much more durable. However, there are already several companies that have explored the possibility of building a wooden satellite. Finn was the first. kitsatwith your project WISA Woodsat. Now, in addition, Japanese scientists from Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestr They went further, showing that wood, although it seems much more vulnerable, is a good material for space travel.
The idea for a wooden satellite originated as early as the 1960s, although the project was ultimately never realized. Over time, the tree began to be perceived as something much more. rudimentaryso it was in the background. However, the impending danger caused by the accumulation of space debris made us think again about the suitability of this material.
Once a satellite has completed its mission, it usually returns to Earth in a more or less controlled fashion. The problem is that when crossing our atmosphere, even if part of the structure collapses, they can always remain loose parts that could collide with our planet. If not, another option is that the entire structure is left to wander around Earth orbit as debris. Neither of the two options is good. Instead, a wooden satellite would be completely burned when crossing our atmosphere without having either of those two problems. It is presented as a very profitable option, but its capabilities must be studied thoroughly.
Wooden satellite targets
Finnish scientists conducted a test flight in 2017, but it was somewhat educational level. A little proof of concept. The actual launch was scheduled first for 2021 and then for 2022, but has yet to take place due to a lack of supporters. In any case, its purpose remains educational.
Instead, the targets of the Japanese with their companion LignoSat They go beyond. It is true that part of his project is also educational. However, it is also expected to fulfill the mission Amateur radio mission. With it, the wooden satellite will extract amateur radio station call signs from uplink packet data FM signals and respond to them using downlink CW and their call signs to send “thank you” messages.
After that, you can even start planning trade missions. After all, the idea to change the metal to another more environmentally friendly materials. Now, not all forests are the same. The Finns used birch plywood. But the Japanese, of course, carried out a previous experiment, the first phase of which took place in International space station.
What is the ideal material?
To find out if wood would be a good material for making satellites, and if so, which one would be the best, scientists from Kyoto University sent a package with various types of wood to the International Space Station.
They stayed for 290 days exposed to the outside Kibo Experimental Module. After that, they were returned to Earth for analysis.
The scientists who studied them found that none of the samples showed significant deformation, peeling, or surface damage. The next step is to study wood at the nanometer levelin case the radiation did very little damage, but it doesn’t seem that way at the moment.
However, they preferred one tree over another: magnolia. They came to this conclusion because it is flexible but very resistant, so it is perfect for anything that is searched with wooden satellite.
It was originally planned to launch the first LignoSat prototype into space in 2023, but it will finally happen in 2024 when Japan Space Agency (JAXA) and NASA cooperate in its launch.
If all goes well, we will be facing what may seem like a step backwards, but is actually a huge step forward, both in the space race and in the fight against the debris that this race leaves behind year after year. Since we are destroying the planet, let’s at least try not to do the same with space.
Source: Hiper Textual