Young Space Engineers Soar to New Heights in CanSat Competition

05/04/24 | Park News, Sector/Industry News

Aspiring space engineers kickstarted their careers in the aerospace industry at a special competition held at Westcott Venture Park on March 26th and 27th.

Divided into 29 teams, 170 students between the ages of 14 and 18 gathered at Westcott to participate in the CanSat competition, organised by ESERO-UK (European Space Education Resource Office, UK).

The competition aimed to provide students with hands-on experience in working on a small-scale space project. Participants were tasked with designing their own mini satellite, fitting it with essential subsystems like power, sensors, and a communication system, all within the size of a soft drink can.

In addition to the primary satellite design, students were challenged to create a secondary mission inspired by existing satellite projects. This included analysing scientific data, demonstrating student-designed technology, or any other mission that aligned with the capabilities of the CanSat.

After completing their builds, teams had the opportunity to launch their CanSats on small rockets at events across the UK.

The primary mission of the CanSats was to measure air pressure and temperature during descent, with data transmitted to ground stations for analysis. Students also designed parachutes to control the descent of their CanSats.

Ben Jarvis, Chief Executive of Launch Access, which ran the competition on behalf of ESERO-UK, said: “Having the opportunity for students to participate at Westcott, the UK home of rocket propulsion, achieves one of the main aims of the competition which is to let kids across the country know that the UK has a space sector and that exciting stuff involving rockets does happen in the UK.”

The international CanSat competition ran across the UK in March with over 200 teams from schools across the country involved with Westcott being the most popular location hosting the largest number of teams. The finals take place in April with the winners invited to ESA for a week long educational conference.

The regional competition at Westcott saw 22 successful launches, involving 170 students from 18 schools.

Nigel MacKenzie, Development Manager at Westcott, emphasised the Park's commitment to nurturing young talent and promoting early involvement in the space industry: “This was an excellent exercise in showing our support for early academic involvement in space.”

“The CanSat competition at Westcott not only provided students with a unique hands-on experience in aerospace engineering but also showcased the UK's growing space sector and the exciting opportunities available in the field.”

CanSat is part of a European Space Agency competition run by ESERO-UK from October - April every year.

Credit for image: Launch Access Ltd and ESERO UK

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