Japanese engineers develop world's first wooden satellite

Engineers in Japan have developed the world's first wooden satellite. They hope to prove that wood can be used in space.

Kyoto University and housing manufacturer Sumitomo Forestry jointly created the satellite, a 10-cubic-centimeter probe with wood panels covering its six sides.

It's equipped with devices to measure distortion and inner temperature.

Most satellites are designed to burn up upon reentry into the atmosphere.

But conventional satellites made of metal could generate particles upon reentry that adversely affect the weather and telecommunications. With wood, these effects could be reduced.

The wooden satellite will be loaded onto a rocket scheduled to be launched from the US in September, and carried to the International Space Station. From there, it will be released into space to collect data.

Astronaut and Kyoto University Graduate School professor Doi Takao says they hope to prove wood is a durable material in space, because as more satellites are launched, their impact cannot be ignored.