About CanSat

What is 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).

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 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.


Unfortunately due to  COVID-19 restrictions and current school closures the CanSat Ireland 2021 competition is postponed for now.  A decision will be made on how to proceed when schools re-open.  Our priority will always be for students and all involved to enjoy a high quality experience in a safe environment.

Regional Competitions
There are 8 regional partners in 2021.

Each of the colleges will be working to train teams from local schools between now and March 2021.  See the training videos here for some of the topics which the students will become familiar with.  Each college will host a regional competition on the following dates.

The CanSat Ireland competition is run in partnership with 8 third level colleges:

  • Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT):  TBC
  • Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow):  TBC
  • Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT):  TBC
  • Munster Technology University (CIT):  TBC
  • Munster Technological University (ITT): TBC
  • Sligo Institute of Technology (ITS): TBC
  • Technological University of Dublin (Grangegorman Campus): TBC
  • Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT): TBC

Winners from each region will participate in the CanSat Ireland National Final in April 2021 in Emo Court, Co Laois (subject to COVID-19 national guidelines. The Irish national winner will represent Ireland in the European competition in June 2021. CanSat is an initiative to encourage school students to consider careers in science and engineering.

For further information please contact: