CanSat 2017/18
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 CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and Institutes of Technology.

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

CanSat Competition
Teams of school students compete to design, build and test a mini-satellite or CanSat. The competition gives students a feeling of excitement and technological achievement by launching their own satellite 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 satellite 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 technical 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 7 regional partners in 2017/18. These are Athlone Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology, Limerick Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tralee and Institute of Technology Sligo.

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: March 8th

Cork: March 10th

Athlone: March 20th

Dublin: March 15th

Galway: March 22nd

Tralee: TBC

Sligo: 13th March

Winners from each region will participate in the CanSat National Final on 26 and 27 April 2018 in Emo Court, Co Laois. The Irish national winner will represent Ireland in the European competition in June/July 2018. CanSat is an initiative to encourage school students to consider careers in science and engineering.

For further information please contact:
ESERO Ireland (Science Foundation Ireland)      Stephanie O’Neill Phone: 01 607 3014

Blackrock Castle Observatory                            Alan Giltinan, Email:

Athlone Institute of Technology                         Marcus Rahilly, Email: mrahilly@AIT.IE

Cork Institute of Technology                              Joe Connell, Email:

Dublin Institute of Technology                           Michael McKeever, Email:

Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology               Emer Cahill, Email:

Limerick Institute of Technology                        Marie Walsh, Email:

Sligo Institute of Technology                              Una Lestrange, Email

Institute of Technology, Tralee                           Krishna Punduru, Email: