Η Φινλανδία prepares to launch the first satellite made of wood within 2021. With its help, scientists aspire to discover how wood behaves in the extreme conditions of space. The wooden satellite, named WISA Woodsat, is just 10 cubic centimeters and carries several sensors and two cameras, of which the a will capture images from space while the second will record the changes that the space environment will bring to its plywood sheets, of which the satellite is made. The wooden satellite will not weigh more than a kilo.
Its launch is scheduled for next fall by the American company Rocket Lab. Getting on track is just one part of the adventure. Once there, the team will monitor the behavior and durability of the plywood in the cold, heat, radiation and the space gap.
The mission is managed by Jari Makinen, its co-founder Arctic Astronautics. The European Space Agency (ESA) provides a range of sensors to monitor satellite performance and will also assist with in-flight testing.
The only non-wooden parts of the satellite on the outside are the aluminum rails required to launch the satellite into space, and an expandable selfie stick that will keep a camera facing backwards on the body.
The plywood used in the satellite has been dried and treated to better withstand space conditions. The Woodsat team expects the outside of the satellite to darken, but will also look to see if there are any cracks when it is in orbit.
If Woodsat performs well, it could give new impetus to wood as a potential material for use in space. Makinen said that Woodsat is just a beautiful object in terms of traditional Scandinavian design and simplicity, so it will be particularly interesting to see it in orbit.