CanSat 2016/17
Post Primary Level

CanSat is a European Space Agency competition for 2nd Level Students (transition year and upwards)  run by ESERO Ireland  in association with Cork Electronic Industries Association and Institutes of Technology.

This footage was taken from RTE’s programme, INSIDERS.

What is CanSat
A CanSat is a simulation of a real satelite, built inside a empty soft drink can

CanSat Competition
Teams of school students compete to design, build and test a mini-satelite or CanSat . The competition gives students a feeling of excitement and technological achievement by launching their own satelite and gives them their first practical experience of a real space project.

Your Mission … should you choose to accept it

  1. Fit all the major subsystems found in a satelite such as power, sensors and communications in a CanSat
  2. Provide a parachute to ensure the can has a gentle landing
  3. Carry out scientific experiments and transmit the data to an earth based computer

Entry is open to 4/6 second level students per team (Transition Year, fifth Year and Sixth Year) per team

What help will you get
The partner Institute of Technology will support participating schools by providing access to state-of the-art labs, technical support and industry mentors for the competing teams. Each team and their teacher will be provided with a kit, an introduction course and on-going techanical support from a dedicated technical mentor.

And now for the Science part
Each team develops a CanSat – Arduino based electronic circuitry housed in a drinks can which takes measurements and transmits back to a computer. The team is responsible for all aspects of the design, selecting the missions, integrating the components, testing, preparing for launch and then analysing the data. The team are brought to a launch site and the CanSat is launched and released from a height. The CanSat must take measurements and transmit the data on its journey back down.

CanSat Primary Mission
After release and during descent, the CanSat shall measure the following parameters and transmit the data to the ground station (a lap top)

  • Air Pressure
  • Air Temperature
  • It must be possible for the team to collect and analyse the data and display it in a graph e.g. altitude vs time and temperature vs altitude. Teams must present their data to a judging panel.

CanSat Secondary Mission
The student must develop any secondary mission of their choice; these are just some examples

  • Advanced Telemetry – GPS location, Radiation levels, Acceleration
  • Telecommand – commands transmitted to switch sensors on or off
  • Landing system
  • Control Mechanism – land on a fixed point target

Regional Competitions
There are five regional partners in 2015/16. These are Athlone Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology,Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology.

Each of the colleges will be working to train teams from local schools between now and March 2017.  See the training videos below for some of the topics which the students will become familiar with.  Each Institute of Technology will host a regional competition on the following dates.

Limerick:             Friday 3rd  March
Cork:                    Saturday 11th March
Athlone:               Wednesday 15th  March
Dublin:                Wednesday 22nd March
Galway:               Friday 31st March

Winners from each region will participate in the CanSat National Final on on 27 and 28 April 2017 in Emo Court, Co Laois. The Irish national winner will represent Ireland in the European competition in June 2016. CanSat is an initiative to encourage school students to consider careers in science and engineering.

For further information please contact:
ESERO Ireland:                                          Stephanie O’Neill Phone: 01 607 3014
Athlone Institute of Technology              Joe Lawless, Email:
Cork Institute of Technology                   Joe Connell, Email:
Dublin Institute of Technology                Paul Doyle, Email:
Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology    Carina Ginty, Email:
Limerick Institute of Technology             Marie Walsh, Email:

ESERO Resources
Below are a list of training videos hosted by Emer Cahill, GMIT lecturer in the Dept of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, who explains and demonstrates different aspects of the CanSat Project.

Introduction to the CanSat Training Videos

CanSat Training Video Part 2 – Physical Structure 

CanSat Training Video Part 3 – Getting to know The Arduino

CanSat Training Video Part 4 – Measuring Temperature

 CanSat Training Video Part 5 – Measuring Pressure

CanSat Training Video Part 6 – Take off!

CanSat Training Video Part 7 – Soldering

 CanSat Training Video Part 8 – About Parachutes 

CanSat Training Video Part 9 – Saving Transmitted Data to a File 

CanSat Training Video Part 10 – Calibrating the Temperature Measurement Circuitry 

CanSat Training Video Part 12 – Using Excel for Analysing 

CanSat Training VideoPart 13 – Converting Pressure to Altitude

CanSat Training Video Part 14 – Using Excel to Analyse and Present Data