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).

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.


CanSat 2021/2022 is currently scheduled to proceed as planned, however we are aware of the fact that Covid 19 and associated variants may complicate the logistics of physically delivering the competition. We will review the available guidelines regularly and assess whether changes need to be made to the program. We will keep communicate updates through the college partners.

The 2021/22 competition CanSat Ireland competition will kick of with 2 events
1. a CanSat Teacher Information Evening on Tuesday 21st September at 7pm.  (This event is now over)
2. A European Space Agency CanSat Outreach Day for teachers and students on Monday 27th September.   More information and Livestream link here

Regional Competitions
There are 7 regional partners (third level colleges) currently confirmed for the 2021/22 competition

Each of the colleges will be working to train teams from local schools between now and March 2022.  See the training videos here for some of the topics which the students will become familiar with.  Colleges will host a regional competition  in March 2022 as follows:

  • Technological University of Dublin (Grangegorman Campus): Thursday 3rd March
    • Winners  St Joseph’s CBS, Drogheda

  • TUS Athlone:   Friday 4th March
  • Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT):  Monday 21st March
  • TUS Limerick: Friday 1st April
  • Munster Technology University Cork: Saturday 2nd April

Winners from each region will participate in the CanSat Ireland National Final on 28th and 29th April 2022  in Emo Court, Co Laois (subject to COVID-19 national guidelines.  The Irish national winner will represent Ireland in the European competition in June 2022. CanSat is an initiative to encourage school students to consider careers in science and engineering.

Teams of Senior Cycle students can register using the link below for the 2021/22 CanSat Ireland competition
2022 CanSat Ireland Registration Form

For further information please contact: