The first wooden nano-satellite is on its way to space. The craft, which measures 10 x 10 x 10 cm and weighs 1 kg, is made of a birch plywood casing, and the only external elements that do not contain wood are aluminum rails for diffusion in space and a “metal selfie stick”. European Space Agency. A test model of the satellite made its first flight into the stratosphere on June 12 from the Hureka Science Center in Finland. This mainly involved testing the onboard and camera systems in close to space environment conditions.
“All systems are operating as expected during the test flight,” WISA Woodsat Chief of Mission Jari Mäkinen confirmed in a report. Press release. The balloon carrying the cubes (the miniature cube satellite) reached a height of 31.2 km, before it exploded as planned and allowed the satellite to parachute and descend into the forest.
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The nanosatellite was developed by Arctic Astronautics as “the world’s first satellite to use wood in its core structure,” the manufacturer explains. This includes studying the use of more sustainable materials in space, in order to reduce the impact of space waste – and the potential debris that could result from it.
The plywood panels are covered with a thin layer of aluminum oxide to protect the internal components from UV rays. The goal is to send cubes into space before the end of the year, and the launch from New Zealand is scheduled with an Electron rocket from Rocket Lab.
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