LignoSat2: The innovative wooden satellite that promises to change the space industry

Joshua Falcón.

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LignoSat2 idea innovadora

The LignoSat2 project, a groundbreaking initiative of Kyoto University, is transforming the space industry by introducing wood as a construction material for satellites. With a planned launch in 2024, in collaboration with NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA, this wooden satellite is emerging as an innovative and sustainable solution.

LignoSat2: Innovative Idea and Space Project

In a remarkable move towards sustainability, the Kyoto University team has achieved a crucial milestone by successfully testing wood samples on the International Space Station (ISS). Since April 2020, the LignoStella Space Project has evaluated the resistance of specific types of wood, such as Erman birch, Japanese cherry and magnolia bovate, under the rigorous conditions of space.

After more than 290 days of exposure to extreme conditions in orbit, the samples were returned to Earth for analysis. “Magnolia”, in particular, demonstrated exceptional strength and stability properties, making it the ideal candidate for the construction of LignoSat2.

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Durability and eco-friendly solution

The experiments confirmed the exceptional durability of the wood under the severe space conditions. Magnolia wood, chosen for its seaworthiness and strength, withstood temperature fluctuations as well as intense cosmic and solar radiation without deterioration, offering a promising solution against space pollution.

The perspective of an ecological satellite such as LignoSat addresses the problem of space pollution generated by conventional satellites. By disintegrating more amicably upon re-entry into the atmosphere, LignoSat could mean a reduction in the production of harmful particles, in contrast to the thousands of annual launches of metallic satellites planned.

LignoSat and its partnership for the future

This project is the fruit of collaboration between Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry, focusing on the development of wooden satellites capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of space. Laboratory tests have successfully simulated these conditions, demonstrating the viability of wood as a material for satellite construction.

Ahead of the launch of LignoSat2, researchers are further studying the degradation of materials at the nano level, with the aim ofoptimize the strength and performance of wood for space applications. This approach not only promises to advance satellite technology, but also sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of space exploration.

Expectations for other satellite launches

Although it is anticipated that LignoSat2 will be equipped with several experiments to evaluate its on-orbit performance, specific details about its mission have yet to be announced. This project stands out not only for its innovative approach to the use of materials, but also for its potential to set a precedent in the construction of more sustainable and less polluting satellites, aligning with the global goals of environmental protection and sustainability in space exploration.

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Source: SpaceKUwood

Photo: X