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Wooden satellite ESA flight payload

The world’s first wooden satellite in the shape of Finland’s WISA Woodsat will soon be completed. ESA’s materials experts provide a range of experimental sensors to the mission and assist in pre-flight testing. WISA Woodsat is a 10x10x10 cm “CubeSat”, a type of nanosatellite built from standardized boxes, but the surface panel is made of plywood. Woodsat’s only non-wooden exterior parts are the corner aluminum rails used for space deployment and metal selfie sticks. Credits: Arctic Astronautics

The world’s first wooden satellite in the shape of Finland’s WISA Woodsat will soon be completed. ESA’s materials experts provide a range of experimental sensors to the mission and assist in pre-flight testing.


WISA Woodsat The 10x10x10cm “CubeSat” is a type of nanosatellite assembled from a standardized box, but the surface panel is made of plywood. Woodsat’s only non-wooden exterior parts are the corners used for space deployment. Aluminum rails and metal selfie sticks.

This mission was started by Finnish writer and broadcaster Jari Makinen. We co-founded a company called. Arctic cosmologySelles a fully functional replica of the orbital CubeSat for educational, training and hobby purposes. “I’ve always liked making airplane models using wooden parts. Why don’t you work in the field of space education and fly wood materials in space?

“So, first of all, I thought about flying a wooden plane. satellite Take a balloon to the stratosphere. It happened in 2017 with a wooden version of KitSat. It worked, so we decided to upgrade it and actually get it on track. From there the project snowballed. Finding commercial support and securing a berth for the Electron Launcher from the Rocket Lab in New Zealand. “

“It was a tight schedule, but in return for helping us assess flight suitability, we welcomed the opportunity to contribute to Woodsat’s payload,” said Riccardo Lampini, head of the Materials Physics and Chemistry section of ESA.

“The first item we introduce is a pressure sensor, which allows us to identify the local pressure in the mounted cavity hours and days after launch into orbit. It is an important factor in powering on high power systems, because high frequency antennas, a small amount of molecules in the cavity, can harm them.

“This sensor is Sens4 In Denmark, it did a great job of removing the standard design due to limited onboard capacity and power constraints. “

Bruno Bras, ESA’s materials engineer, adds: “The good thing here is that we have devised a low-cost device that can find more uses of all kinds, both in orbit and in ground test environments.”

Wooden satellite ESA flight payload

The world’s first wooden satellite in the shape of Finland’s WISA Woodsat will soon be completed. ESA’s materials experts provide a range of experimental sensors to the mission and assist in pre-flight testing. WISA Woodsat is a 10x10x10 cm “CubeSat”, a type of nanosatellite built from standardized boxes, but the surface panel is made of plywood. Woodsat’s only non-wooden exterior parts are the corner aluminum rails used for space deployment and metal selfie sticks. Credits: Arctic Astronautics

Next to it is a simple LED with a light-sensitive photoresistor. However, LED power comes through a 3D-printed conductive plastic called “polyetheretherketone.” PEEK for short, Open the outlook for printing power, or Even data Link directly into the body of future space missions.

Orcun Ergincan, a materials engineer at ESA, commented: “Another item is the Quartz Crystal Microbalance, which acts as a highly sensitive pollution monitoring tool and measures faint deposits in the nanogram range from in-vehicle electronics and the wood surface itself. Contribution along OpenQCM In Italy. The company also builds an overall printed circuit board stack of all three demonstrator with built-in sensors. “

Plywood for wood sat

Woodsat sponsors include Finland’s UPM Plywood, the world’s largest plywood manufacturer.

“The plywood base is birch, which is essentially the same as that used in hardware stores and furniture manufacturing,” says Samuli, chief engineer at Woodsat and co-founder of Arctic Astronatics. Nyman explains.

“The main difference is that ordinary plywood is too humid for space use, so we put the wood in a thermal vacuum chamber to dry it. Then we do atomic layer deposition and it is usually used for encapsulation. Adds a very thin layer of aluminum oxide, which minimizes unwanted vapors from wood known as “outgas” in the space field and protects it from the erosion effects of atomic oxygen. We will also test other varnishes and lacquers on some sections of wood. “

This reactive oxygen species variant has been found around the atmosphere and is the result of the breakdown of standard oxygen molecules by the intense UV light from the Sun, when the thermal blanket was eaten during the early Space Shuttle flight. It was discovered for the first time.

Pre-flight tests suggest that artificial satellites orbiting near polar sun-synchronous orbits at altitudes of approximately 500-600 km can withstand atomic oxygen exposure. However, it is expected that the UV radiation of unfiltered sunlight will cause the wood to turn black.

Wooden satellite ESA flight payload

The world’s first wooden satellite in the shape of Finland’s WISA Woodsat will soon be completed. ESA’s materials experts provide a range of experimental sensors to the mission and assist in pre-flight testing. WISA Woodsat is a 10x10x10 cm “CubeSat”, a type of nanosatellite built from standardized boxes, but the surface panel is made of plywood. Woodsat’s only non-wooden exterior parts are the corner aluminum rails used for space deployment and metal selfie sticks. ESA materials engineers have begun testing pressure sensors, conductive plastic and quartz microbalances, all housed on the same printed circuit board, and shape memory alloys. Credit: ESA

Onboard selfie stick

“We have two cameras, and we stretch one out onto a selfie stick to look back at the plywood and take pictures to see how the plywood works,” Jari adds. I will. “I want to see color changes and cracks”

Designing and manufacturing a camera boom turned out to be an interesting task. The structure must be small because it can fit inside a small launch satellite, and when in space it should extend as far as possible from it.

“The design was done by Finnish engineering firm Huld, pushing 3D printing to the limit,” adds Jari. “For Hald, the Woodsat project has already proven to be an important reference for entering other astronautics projects.”

In addition to the camera and ESA-provided sensor suite, Woodsat also carries amateur radio payloads, allowing amateurs to relay radio signals and images around the world. To downlink data from this “LoRa” wireless link, you need to purchase a “ground station” for only € 10.

“After all, Woodsat is just a beautiful object in terms of traditional Scandinavian design and simplicity. It should be very interesting to see it in orbit,” Jari continues. “Our hopes will help people understand the growing interest in the satellite and space sectors. It has already affected all our lives and in the future. Will grow even bigger. “

Woodsat will be launched by the end of this year.


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Quote: The ESA flight payload of the wooden satellite (June 10, 2021) was obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-esa-payloads-wooden-satellite.html on June 10, 2021. did.

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Wooden satellite ESA flight payload

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