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ESA flying payloads on wooden satellite

Written by  Thursday, 10 June 2021 06:59
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Woodsat in orbit

The world’s first wooden satellite is on the way, in the shape of the Finnish WISA Woodsat. ESA materials experts are contributing a suite of experimental sensors to the mission as well as helping with pre-flight testing.

WISA Woodsat
WISA Woodsat

The mission was initiated by Jari Makinen, Finnish writer and broadcaster. He co-founded a company called Arctic Astronautics, which markets fully functional replicas of orbit-ready CubeSats for education, training and hobby purposes. “I’ve always enjoyed making model planes, involving a lot of wooden parts. Having worked in the space education field, this got me wondering; why don’t we fly any wooden materials in space?

“So I had the idea first of all to fly a wooden satellite up to the stratosphere, aboard a weather balloon. That happened in 2017, with a wooden version of KitSat. That having gone well, we decided to upgrade it and actually go into orbit. From there the project just snowballed: we found commercial backing, and secured a berth on an Electron launcher from Rocket Lab in New Zealand.”


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