Japanese university developing world's first wooden satellite
Kyoto University is collaborating with various companies to create the world's first wooden satellite, which will be built using traditional Japanese joinery technology and launched from the US in March 2024, The Japan News reports
The satellite will be in the shape of a cube. The Kuroda Kobo woodworking company is among the leaders in this development. Its representatives decided to accept the challenge and help in the manufacture of the device.
It is reported that, in recent years, many small satellites have been launched for various purposes, including to improve communications. By using wood to make the hull, the team aims to reduce the number of metal elements that burn up when entering the atmosphere at the end of their mission and, accordingly, to cut the impact on the environment.
According to The Japan News, the developers had to choose a wood that was highly durable. “The satellite will be exposed to the vacuum of space, removing any moisture in the wood. It will also need to withstand extreme temperature changes, between 120C and minus 150C, as it completes its orbit around the Earth every 90 minutes. These changes would cause the wood to expand and contract, as well as suffer damage if glue or other such materials are used,” the source said.
In this regard, a traditional joinery technology – ‘tomegata kakushi arigumi – has been adopted; it is used to make paulownia chests, drawers and other items. The method requires protrusions to be cut out, allowing the pieces to tightly fit together like puzzle pieces without the use of nails or adhesives.