World’s first wooden satellite prepares for launch

Today, on UN’s International Day of Human Space Flight, UPM Plywood, Arctic Astronautics and Huld announce a joint mission to launch the first ever wooden satellite, WISA Woodsat TM, into Earth’s orbit. By the end of 2021, the WISA Woodsat TM will go where no wood has gone before. Its mission to gather data on the behavior and durability of plywood over an extended period in the harsh temperatures, vacuum and radiation of space to assess the use of wood materials in space structures.

WISA Woodsat TM is a nanosatellite designed and built by Arctic Astronautics, creator of the Kitsat educational satellite concept. WISA Woodsat TM is based on the popular CubeSat standard, which measures roughly 10 x 10 x 10 cm and weights a kilogram. A suite of onboard sensors, including two cameras will be used to monitor the specially coated WISA®-Birch plywood. One of these cameras is on an additively manufactured deployable boom designed by Huld for exterior imaging. The space materials laboratory of the European Space Agency will provide a novel sensor suite for the mission. And all of this will be powered by ten small solar cells.

The Wooden satellite with a selfie stick will surely bring laughter and goodwill, but essentially this is a serious science and technology endeavor. In addition to testing plywood the satellite will host several secondary technology demonstrations, validate the Kitsat in orbit and popularize satellite communication and space technology to the public”, says WISA Woodsat TM mission manager Jari Mäkinen of Arctic Astronautics.

UPM’s mission as a company is a future beyond fossils. WISA Woodsat TM will not only carry pieces of plywood but also a profound message of replacing fossils with renewable, recyclable and reusable materials in all possible uses and places. Houston, we have a solution”, says Ari Voutilainen, the space project manager for UPM Plywood.

Huld is extremely proud to be part of this mission as it combines Huld’s main competence areas, space and mechanical design! We foresee a lot of possibilities in this WISA Woodsat TM project, and in the future by using the knowhow developed in this mission”, says Matti Anttila, Space Business Development Director from Huld.

The launch of the WISA Woodsat TM is planned for Q3 of 2021, and the launch will take place from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex in New Zealand. The satellite will be launched to polar orbit by Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle. The WISA Woodsat TM will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 500–550 kilometers, completing a full orbit every hour and a half.

Rocket Lab’s Senior Vice President of Global Launch Services, Lars Hoffman, said: “We’re proud to provide access to orbit for this innovative mission and we’re excited to see teams like UPM, Arctic Astronautics and Huld pushing boundaries.”

The project has filed applications for a radio permit and a space operations license. The building of the satellite is ongoing and next up are the tests required for a ticket to ride a rocket. All these activities can be followed on the mission website and blog opening today.

The countdown has begun!

For further information please contact:
Jari Mäkinen, tel +358 40 550 9198 /
Ari Voutilainen, tel +358 40 671 9995 /
Matti Anttila, tel. +358 500 621 791 /

Meet WISA Woodsat TM online:
Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok @wisawoodsat

Arctic Astronautics
Arctic Astronautics is a start-up from Finland that has created the Kitsat educational satellite and related STEM teaching material package. Kitsat is a fully functional one-unit CubeSat, specifically made for an educational use with earthly components. It can be also used for stratospheric flights or easily upgraded with space-qualified parts to a qualified satellite, as demonstrated with WISA®Woodsat. Arctic Astronautics graduated from the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre in Finland in 2020. –

UPM Plywood
UPM Plywood offers high quality WISA® plywood and veneer products for construction, vehicle flooring, LNG shipbuilding, parquet manufacturing and other industrial applications. In 2020 UPM Plywood sales was EUR 400 million and it had 2,100 employees. UPM has five plywood mills and one veneer mill in Finland as well as plywood mills in Russia and Estonia. –

We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. As the industry leader in responsibility we are committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the science-based targets to mitigate climate change. We employ 18,000 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 8.6 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils.

WISA, WISA WOODSAT and WOODSAT are registered trademarks of UPM Plywood.

Huld is a European technology design house with experience from the space industry since 1989. It is now also reaching out to the New Space industry combining software and testing knowhow with tailor-made additive manufacturing mechanisms and out-of-the-box thinking. Huld provides the additively manufactured deployable camera boom and related structures for the mission. –

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