Cork school shoots for the stars at CanSat competition

CanSat 2015 winners
Pictured: Team Steve from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co Cork

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20 April 2015 | 0

A team of students from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal secondary school in Blarney, Co Cork was named winners of the 2015 ESERO Ireland-CEIA National CanSat competition at Birr Castle, Co Offaly, yesterday. The team will go on to represent Ireland at the European CanSat final in Portugal this coming June.

Eight teams from schools across Ireland took part in the competition to create a CanSat – a simulation of a real satellite which fits into the volume of a soft drinks can. Teams were selected from each of the regional finals hosted by Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway-Mayo Institutes of Technology earlier this year.

Teams launched their CanSats using a quadcopter and a rocket (built by the Irish Rocketry Society), which after release at high altitudes, returned to earth safely using a parachute.

For the primary mission, the CanSat captured air temperature and atmospheric pressure data from its environment using sensors as it ascended and descended. It then transmitted the data wirelessly to a laptop ‘ground station’. Teams also undertook secondary missions such as GPS tracking, atmospheric monitoring, guided landing, power generation and tweeting. The data was then analysed the data and presented to a panel of judges.

Dr Eamon Connolly of CEIA said: “CanSat is a perfect opportunity for secondary school students to learn about space technology, communications and teamwork, and also to highlight the fantastic career possibilities available to science and engineering graduates.”

Last year, secondary school students from Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick succeeded in achieving third place at the 2014 European CanSat Competition in Andøya, Norway, where their CanSat was launched by rocket to an altitude of 1km. In 2013, a team of nine students from Colaiste an Phiarsaigh in Glanmire, Cork, went on to achieve second place at the European CanSat final in the Netherlands.

All the entries were reviewed and evaluated by a judging panel that included Niall Smith from CIT/Blackrock Castle Observatory, Neil Murray from the European Space Agency and Stephanie O’Neill, ESERO Ireland manager.

TechCentral Reporters

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