About CanSat

CanSat 2023-2024
Post Primary Level

Suggested for: 14 to 19 years old

What’s it like to make a real space project from A to Z? Work together as a team to imagine, build, launch and operate a CanSat to find out!

CanSat challenges school students to fit the key components of a satellite in the volume of a soda can.


Kick-off date 2023/2024: 19 September 2023

  • Registration is open! here
  • New teacher information session registration here
  • CanSat Ireland Guidelines 2023/2024 here


*New* Competition structure 2023/2024:
Post Primary Level

*New* Competition structure 2023/2024:

  1. National competitions are run annually by ESA’s ESERO offices, and other national partners.
  2. From school year 2023-24, the national winning teams will be welcomed by ESA at its ESTEC site for a brand-new learning and celebration event: ‘Space Engineer for a Day’, to take place at the end of June 2024.

Starting in school year 2023-2024, the national winning teams will be welcomed by ESA at its ESTEC site in the Netherlands for a brand-new European learning and celebration event: ‘Space Engineer for a Day’, to take place on 20 & 21 June 2024. With this event we will celebrate your achievements and your team will experience first-hand what is the day-to-day life of an engineer working in the space business.

You will be able to:

  • Explore out-of-this world facilities and laboratories
  • Meet space experts
  • Present your work to a panel of experts in a poster session
  • Enjoy social and space-themed activities
  • Network with the other national winning teams in a truly international environment.

ESA is looking forward to welcoming you in June!!

About CanSat
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 third level colleges.

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).

Support for participating teams
The partner college will support participating schools by providing access to state-of the-art labs, technical support, and college/industry mentors for the competing teams. Each team and their teacher will be provided with a kit, an introductory 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 laptop):

  • Air Pressure
  • Air Temperature
  • It must be possible for the team to collect and analyse the data and display it in an appropriately labelled 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

A CanSat feature on RTE’s programme, INSIDERS.