World's first wooden satellite tested

Cutting-edge technology is getting back to nature. A company has tested a new satellite that is predominantly made from plywood. The satellite is called Woodsat. It is the brainchild of engineer Jari Makinen, co-founder of a Finnish company called Arctic Astronautics. It is just 10cm cubed in size. He has already successfully tested his DIY, but high-tech, device in the stratosphere. He attached it to a weather balloon, which took it to an altitude of 30km above Earth – just before the endless expanse of space itself. The balloon exploded (as planned) and Woodsat safely parachuted back to Earth. Mr Makinen happily reported that all communications equipment survived the harsh conditions.

Makinen plans to launch Woodsat into space later this year. He said it was the realisation of a dream. He started a company to produce fully functional wooden replicas of orbit-ready miniature satellites called CubeSats. These are used for space research, education and hobby purposes. Makinen explained: "I've always enjoyed making model planes that involve a lot of wooden parts. Having worked in the space education field, this got me wondering why we don't fly any wooden materials into space." He came up with the idea for Woodsat in 2017 and "the project just snowballed". He said: "We found commercial backing, and secured a berth on an Electron launcher from Rocket Lab in New Zealand."