Arctic Astronautics, a Finnish firm, is planning to launch the world’s first wooden satellite into orbit by the end of this year. WISA Woodsat is a nanosatellite that is made of birch plywood and is fashioned like a cube. Sensors produced by the European Space Agency are included (ESA).
About the world’s first wooden satellite launch
The length, height, and breadth of the WISA Woodsat are all 10cm on each side. The fundamental goal of such an experiment is to discover if a substance like wood can withstand the vacuum, heat, cold, and radiation of space. Jari Makinen, the brains of WISA Woodsat, pondered why we don’t fly woody materials into space, which inspired the invention of WISA Woodsat.
WISA Woodsat’s wood has been vacuum-dried to eliminate humidity, which might create problems in space. The only non-wooden elements of the WISA Woodsat are a metal selfie stick and corner aluminium rails that allow the satellite to be launched into orbit.
Makinen is a co-founder of Arctic Astronautics, which creates fully functional and orbit-ready satellite replicas. Arctic Astronautics’ reproductions are mostly utilised for educational, training, and recreational purposes. WISA Woodsat’s wood has been vacuum-dried to eliminate humidity, which might create problems in space. The only non-wooden elements of the WISA Woodsat are a metal selfie stick and corner aluminium rails that allow the satellite to be launched into orbit.
The WISA Woodsat will be launched from New Zealand on a rocket called the Electron, which was created by the American aerospace company Rocket Lab. Despite its exposure to atomic oxygen, the WISA Woodsat has passed pre-flight testing, indicating that it can operate in orbits as high as 500-600 kilometres. Unfiltered UV sunlight, on the other hand, is expected to discolour the wood on the spacecraft, according to experts.
ESA has installed a set of sensors on the satellite to assess how it survives the severe conditions of lower Earth orbit. According to an ESA press release, “The first item we’re embarking is a pressure sensor, which will allow us to identify the local pressure in onboard cavities in the hours and days after launch into orbit,” said Riccardo Rampini, head of ESA’s Materials Physics and Chemistry. These sensors also feature a contamination monitoring tool that will detect sensitive deposits on the circuit board or the wooden body of the satellite.
IMAGE: ESA INSTAGRAM
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