Sumitomo Forestry studies potential for wood materials in extreme environments
HIROYASU ODA, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO — Japanese logging company Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University are planting the seeds for a 2023 launch of the world’s first satellite made out of wood.
The partners announced their intentions on Wednesday, saying the aim was basic research and proof of concept.
They have agreed to conduct research on tree growth and the use of wood materials in space. They hope to promote technology for using wood in extreme environments on Earth.
Wood does not block electromagnetic waves or the Earth’s magnetic field. This enables devices such as antennas and attitude control mechanisms to be placed inside a wooden satellite, allowing for simpler structures. In addition, when a wooden satellite de-orbits and plunges back to Earth, it would burn up completely without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground.