Project underway to use wood in satellites

The effort would reduce excess space 'junk'

An example satellite made out of wood (Photo from Sumitomo Forestry)

MADISON, Wis. -- Sumitomo Forestry, a 400-year-old Japanese forest products company company, is partnering with Kyoto University to develop satellite technology that would use wood components to eliminate excess space junk, according to a report by the BBC. This would allow satellite pieces to burn up as they descended back toward earth rather than remain in orbit endangering other objects in space including space vehicles carrying humans, according to the report.

Satellite with large material content of wood would join other objects both large and small that are being researched for wood use, from large office and residential buildings to semiconductors using thin slices of wood (under development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Collisions in space can scatter thousands of tiny particles travelling at high speeds. There are currently 2,800 functioning satellites in orbit, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. There are many more launches planned by governments and corporations increasing future risks.

“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,” Kyoto University professor and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi told the BBC. “Eventually it will affect the environment of the Earth.”

Still Have Questions?

Contact us any time and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.