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December 07, 2008

Paper airplanes from space

origami space paper airplane

If all goes according to plan, early next year the wonderfully quirky world of hard-core paper airplane flyers will have set a new milestone. Next February an astronaut aboard the International Space Station will toss several paper airplanes out into the void, sending them on a multi-day journey through atmospheric re-entry and back down to the Earth's surface.

The origami-folded airplanes are made from sugar cane fiber paper that has been chemically treated to resist heat and water, and they've been tested in wind tunnels at hypersonic speeds. The planes measure about a foot long and are covered with instructions (in ten languages) of what to do if they are, against all probability, found back on the surface of the Earth.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will be stationed aboard the ISS next year, will toss the pre-folded planes either by hand or via the Station's robotic arm.

Full coverage of the planned paper airplane flight is on Pink Tentacle.


Posted by Chris Spurgeon at December 7, 2008 09:37 AM


Now if the astronaut was going to jump out of the space station along with the paper airplanes -- well now, that would be something.

Posted by: G.L. Dryfoos at December 17, 2008 01:17 AM