A CanSat is the combination of the complex world of satellite design into a small and easy to understand project. CanSats are being built by pupils of Secondary Schools and University Students all over the world in the last decade. In Norway, NAROM is running a national competition for pupils at Upper Secondary Schools.
The CanSat concept was first introduced in the late 1990s by the American professor Robert Twiggs. It provides an affordable way to introduce students to the many challenges in building a satellite. Students design and build a small electronic payload that can fit inside a soda can. The CanSat is launched and ejected from a rocket or a balloon. By the use of a parachute, the CanSat slowly descends back to earth performing its mission while transmitting telemetry.
Norwegian Competition since 2009
NAROM arranged the first Norwegian CanSat competition in 2009 where four teams from Norwegian upper secondary schools got to launch their CanSats up to an altitude of one kilometer with a rocket from Andøya. All teams achieved their mission and got good data from the CanSat. You can watch a short video from the 2009 Camp by clicking the image below.
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In 2010 the Competition was expanded. A total of 20 teams from upper secondary schools all over Norway handed in proposals to compete for the opportunity to get their CanSats launched from a rocket. Three rockets were successfully launched the 29th . of April 2010 carrying CanSats from the five best teams.
In August the same year NAROM hosted a European competition in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Norwegian Space Centre. Teams from ten ESA member states took part in the competition that was won by the UK.
With the exception of 2012, NAROM has since 2009 hosted a Norwegian CanSat Competition every year. In 2012 NAROM was again host for the 2nd European CanSat Competition.
Watch the video from the 2010 European competition at YouTube.
The Norwegian Competition 2013
This year teams from seven Norwegian upper secondary schools are competing in being the best CanSat designers. In addition to the six Norwegian teams, one team from a Russian school will also be participating. Seven CanSats will be launched the 10th of April from Andøya.
The winner from this years competition will get the opportunity to participate in the European CanSat Competition 2013 which is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2013 in The Netherlands.
The winning team from 2009 with the Intruder rocket
The CanSat Rocket
As a launch vehicle for the CanSats NAROM is using a commercially available amateur rocket kit, called the Intruder. The rocket is 1.5 meters long and can carry two CanSats to an altitude of approximately 1 kilometer. The vertical acceleration exceeds 10 G, and the rocket reaches its maximum velocity of 544 km/h in less than two seconds!