Rocket Lab is Set to Launch a Wooden Satellite in November

26th Jun 2021
Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab

2021 will witness a wooden satellite launch dubbed WISA Woodsat. It measures 4 x 4 x 4 inches and is made of plywood with a special coating. Arctic Astronautics, a company based in Finland, is the brains behind this innovative idea.

The company manufactures small satellite kits for students and is looking forward to this mission. It’s a chance to see how plywood acts when in space. The conditions are harsh, and this will gauge if wood can play a part in the construction of upcoming space missions.

Once the satellite hits outer space, it will transmit images from its surroundings. The innovators will fit a selfie stick connected to one of the two cameras. These cameras provide a clear vision of how plywood behaves in space.

More Details on the Wooden Satellite

The base of the wooden satellite material is birch, usually found in a local hardware store. The only difference with regular plywood is the processing. The one for the satellite production has been placed inside a vacuum to remove much of the moisture.

Once the plywood is dry, the company will add a thin layer of aluminum oxide. This is done through atomic layer deposition. The aluminum oxide coating will help the wooden satellite survive outer space. Additionally, researchers are set to add a coat of varnish after testing out a few samples.

Rocket Lab will launch the satellite in November. The company had tested a similar design and flown it using a weather balloon. However, it didn’t go beyond the Karman Line. However, they hope to get better results this time.

The mission by Arctic Astronautics is in collaboration with the design company Huld and the plywood manufacturer UPM Plywood. This satellite launch will help many others in the space industry understand how various materials behave in space.

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