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Wooden satellites? Japan proves magnolia has right stuff for space

Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry test samples ahead of prototype launch

Three types of wood were tested outside the International Space Station's Kibo experiment module for 10 months. (Photo courtesy of NASA/JAXA)

TOKYO -- A team from Kyoto University and Japanese logging company Sumitomo Forestry confirmed that wood is highly durable in orbit after a 10-month experiment on the International Space Station, paving the way for plans to launch a satellite made from wood next year.

The discovery, announced by the university last week, could lead to satellites with simpler designs that are less prone to failure.

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