University of Tokyo Professor Shinji Suzuki plans to throw an origami plane out of the International Space Station from orbit, 400 kilometres above the surface of the Earth.

This would be the longest, fastest, most difficult paper plane glide in history, with the plane starting at Mach 20 but slowing down to Mach 7 during re-entry.

Professor Suzuki hopes to get permission for the 20cm long paper plane, folded into the shape of the  Space Shuttle, to be thrown out by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata later this year.

It might seem rather whimsical, but the professor insists there’s serious merit to it as well, and hopes to inspire new designs for re-entry vehicles and high-altitude planes, as well as simulating interest in science and technology among the public.

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