Call for CanSats

[:de]Die Gewinner des CanSat-Wettbewerb 2023[:en]The winners of the CanSat competition 2023, Photo: Ars Electronica / Thomas Schwarz

The development of a CanSat for the ESA competition is not quite as simple as it may sound at first. But the colorful variety of ideas developed for the 2023 CanSat competition shows how many paths lead to the goal.

Read more: Call for CanSats

The transmitters and sensors with which the CanSat can satellites are equipped are to be able to measure both air pressure and temperature in order to send this data to a ground station by means of radio waves. In a small rocket, the homemade mini-satellites will be catapulted five hundred meters into the sky. On their way back to Earth, they will collect important information that the pupils can use to calculate both the maximum altitude reached and the speed. The most effective parachutes possible must guarantee a soft landing.
An altitude profile is then created based on the air pressure data collected. The first mission (primary mission) of ESA’s CanSat competition is already completed with the accomplishment of all these tasks. In addition to collecting, analyzing and utilizing this data, the best of all competing can satellites must also master a further, very individual challenge. The young researchers’ ideas will then be fine-tuned until they fit the format of a beverage can and thus can be launched with the CanSat can satellite on April 4, 2024.

This was CanSat Austria 2023

A team of students from the BG/BRG Werndlpark and the HTL Steyr has mastered this Challenge 2023 with excellence. The development of a CanSat for the ESA competition is not quite as simple as it may sound at first. In addition to the specified measurements, their can satellite named WerndlExplorer fulfilled the following (fictitious) mission: Filled with a load of plant seeds, the visionary CanSat was supposed to transport new life to an Earth-like “planet B”. As a result, it was ranked as “Austria’s most innovative CanSat” last year.

Photo: Ars Electronica / Thomas Schwarz

The colorful variety of ideas developed for the 2023 CanSat competition shows how many paths lead to the goal. At Suben Airport, the venue for this unique can satellite spectacle, the young people can subject the result of their hard teamwork to the big stress test at the end. The best CanSats in Austria will be put through their paces, presented and selected in front of a jury of scientists. A trip to ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Center of ESA in Noordwijk, Netherlands, awaits the winners, where they can compete in the international CanSat competition with their mini-satellite.

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Ideas, Instructions and Materials for Interdisciplinary Project Teaching

With easy-to-understand instructions, lots of teaching materials and further knowledge about the components used — for example about sensors, about the geometry of parachutes, communication by means of radio waves or the programming language C++ — ESA invites teachers year after year to support their young teams in the implementation of this interdisciplinary CanSat space project. As part of a science elective or optional course, this multifaceted space project has been a captivating highlight of school lessons for several years now, and young developers as young as 14 are usually eager to get started.

Whatever missions the brand-new 2024 can satellites fulfill, at the end of this extensive educational project that stretches from the beginning of school into the spring, the young teams will have acquired a whole host of new Future Skills. For most of them, however, learning is never the main focus. Rather, it’s about using creativity and ingenuity, combined efforts, sweat and tears of joy to achieve a goal they’ve set themselves.

From the innovative design, to the integration of the technical components, to the first test flights and the scientific analysis of the data, participation in this ESA competition will once again offer your students the opportunity to go through all the phases of a real space project. Get more information here, submit your application by November 6, 2023, and be part of the 2024 CanSat competition with your most creative can satellite!

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