Cork students blast off at CanSat finals

Team Steve
Pictured: Team Steve members Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co. Cork

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30 June 2015 | 0

Team Steve of Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal in Blarney, Co Cork was one of 14 finalists competing at the 2015 European CanSat Competition in Santa Cruz Airfield, Portugal, last weekend.

Student teams from European Space Agency (ESA) member states across Europe participated in the competition to build a CanSat, a model satellite the size of a soft drinks can, which is launched by rocket to a height of 1km, and collects atmospheric data for analysis back on the ground.

Teams were required to include all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system.

Each entry had to complete two missions: a compulsary primary mission where CanSats measured temperature and air pressure. A secondary team-selected mission saw Team Steve develop a soft landing system, using a two-way communication system consisting of an accelerometer which sends data from the satellite back to the ground station throughout its flight, and a satellite retrieval system based on light and sound signals.

The Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal students had been gearing up for the competition since October, after winning the 2015 ESERO Ireland–CEIA CanSat national final at Birr Castle, Co Offaly.

The competition winners were Team Impulse from St Paul’s School, London, in the advanced category and Team AlpSat from BG/BRG Stainach, Austria, in the beginners category.

Stephanie O’Neill, ESERO (European Space Education Resource Office) Ireland manager at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The CanSat competition is all about introducing space science to second level students in a meaningful and exciting way, while at the same time fostering advanced science, technology, engineering and maths skills. Students have the chance to experience real-life science and engineering applications as their minds are opened to the potential opportunities that exist in the Irish and international space sector.”

CanSat is a joint collaboration between ESERO Ireland and Cork Electronics Industry Association (CEIA); and is co-funded by the European Space Agency and Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme.

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