CanSat European Space Agency Competition

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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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.

CanSat European Space Agency Competition

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.

Join a Teacher Information Session on the CanSat 2021/22 competition on 21st September at 7pm for .  More information and registration for this session here.

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.

Regional Competitions
There are 8 regional partners (third level colleges) 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.  Each college will host a regional competition  between 21st February and 4th March 2022 on dates to be confirmed.

  • 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 on 28th and 29th April 2022 (TBC) 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.

For further information please contact:

Interested in science and engineering? Check out courses around the country here.

Steven Galvin

Online & Digital Marketing at Clane Community School
Watch the Webinar: Student Collaboration Discussion


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