Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry has teamed up with Kyoto University to develop what they hope will be the world’s first wooden satellite by 2023, in order to reduce space waste.
Sumitomo Forestry said it began researching tree growth and the use of wood materials in space.
The company should start experimenting with different types of wood in harsh environments on Earth.
Space waste has become an increasing problem as more satellites are launched into the atmosphere.
Wooden satellites are supposed to burn up without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or sending debris back to Earth.
“We are concerned about the fact that all the satellites that enter the Earth’s atmosphere again burn out and produce tiny alumina particles that have been floating in the upper atmosphere for many years,” said Takao Doi, a professor at Kyoto University and a Japanese astronaut.
The Japanese astronaut added: This affects the Earth’s environment, and the next stage will be the stage of developing the engineering model for the satellite, and then we will make the flight model.
Sumitomo Forestry, part of the Sumitomo Group, which was founded more than 400 years ago, said it is developing hardwood materials that are resistant to changes in temperature and sunlight.
Experts have warned of the increased risk of space waste falling to Earth, as more spacecraft and satellites are launched.
Satellites are increasingly being used for communications, television, navigation, and weather forecasting, and space experts and researchers are looking at various options to remove and reduce space waste.
There are nearly 6,000 satellites orbiting the Earth, according to the World Economic Forum, and about 60 percent of them have become space junk.
Research firm Euroconsult estimates that 990 satellites will be launched each year during this decade, which means that by 2028, there could be 15,000 satellites in orbit.
SpaceX has launched more than 900 satellites for the Starlink project and has plans to deploy thousands of more satellites.
Space trash travels at more than 22,300 miles per hour, so it can cause significant damage to any creatures that collide with it.
In 2006, a small piece of space garbage collides with the International Space Station, ejecting a slice of the heavily reinforced window.