Plywood is the material of choice for the world's first wooden satellite being launched by Rocket Lab from the launch site in Mahia.
A Rocket Lab spokeswoman said the satellite 'WISA WOODSAT' would be designed and built in Finland, but will be launched from Mahia no earlier than spring.
WISA WOODSAT is a nanosatellite and measures roughly 10 x 10 x 10 cm [CubeSat], built up from standardised boxes, but with surface panels made from plywood.
Woodsat's only non-wooden external parts are corner aluminium rails used for its deployment into space plus a metal selfie stick.
"The WISA WOODSAT mission is to test the applicability of wooden materials, particularly plywood, in spacecraft structures and expose it to extreme conditions in space such as heat, cold, vacuum and radiation, for an extended period of time," the Rocket Lab spokeswoman said.
"Anybody wanting to launch a satellite from New Zealand must first submit a comprehensive application with the New Zealand Space Agency, which analyses whether all reasonable steps to safely operate the satellite have been taken and that the satellite is consistent with New Zealand's national and international obligations, among other conditions.
"The payload permit application is then signed off by the Minister for Economic Development or declined if they are not satisfied that the satellite's operation is not in New Zealand's national interest."
This includes any satellite which would contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities, intends to harm, interfere with, or destroy other spacecraft, or systems on Earth, intends to support or enable specific defence, security or intelligence operations which are contrary to government policy, or intends to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment.
The mission was initiated by Finnish writer and broadcaster Jari Makinen.
He co-founded a company called Arctic Astronautics, which markets fully functional replicas of orbit-ready Cubesats for education, training and hobby purposes.
"I've always enjoyed making model planes, involving a lot of wooden parts," he told the European Space Agency.
"Having worked in the space education field, this got me wondering; why don't we fly any wooden materials in space?
"So I had the idea first of all to fly a wooden satellite up to the stratosphere, aboard a weather balloon. That happened in 2017, with a wooden version of KitSat.
"That having gone well, we decided to upgrade it and actually go into orbit. From there the project just snowballed: we found commercial backing, and secured a berth on an Electron launcher from Rocket Lab in New Zealand."