Japan developing wooden satellites to cut space junk

Japan developing wooden satellites to cut space junk
Japan plans a 2023 launch of the world's first satellite made out of wood. Source: SUMITOMO FORESTRY
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Daily US Times: Kyoto University and a Japanese company named Sumitomo Forestry have joined forces to develop what they hope will be the world’s first wooden satellites by 2023.

The company, which is a part of the Sumitomo Group, said it has started research on tree growth and the use of wood materials in space.

The partnership between the two will begin experimenting with different types of wood in extreme environments on Earth.

Space junk is becoming an increasing problem and concern as more satellites are launched into the atmosphere.

Wooden satellites would burn up without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when they plunge back to Earth.

Takao Doi, a professor at Kyoto University and Japanese astronaut, said: “We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years.”

Eventually it will affect the environment of the Earth, he said.

The Professor added: “The next stage will be developing the engineering model of the satellite, then we will manufacture the flight model.”

As an astronaut, Professor Takao Doi visited the International Space Station in March 2008.

During this mission to the Space Station, he became the first person to throw a boomerang in space that had been specifically designed for use in microgravity.

Sumitomo Forestry was founded more than 400 years ago. The company said it would work on developing wooden materials highly resistant to temperature changes and sunlight.

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