Luxembourg Cansat Competition

Build your satellite in a can!

A competition for young students

A CanSat is a “satellite” the size of a beverage can, developed, built and programmed by teams of students. This mini-satellite is brought to an altitude of several hundred meters by a rocket and then falls to the ground attached to a parachute. The satellite performs measurements and other tasks for which it was designed.

A CanSat serves as a model of a real space mission, as it will pass through essentially the same phases as a real space mission: Planning the mission, designing the satellite, testing the individual components and the overall system, carrying out the mission, processing and evaluating the data, communicating the results. In this way, the CanSat competition offers dedicated and talented students the opportunity to gain their first practical and authentic experience of a space project.

The Luxembourg CanSat competition is organized by the European Space Agency (ESA). The winning team of the Luxembourg competition has the chance to visit the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) near Amsterdam.

The challenge

The task of the participating teams is to develop, build and test a mini-satellite with the dimensions of a beverage can. During the launch campaign, the satellite will be transported to an altitude of almost one kilometre by a rocket provided by the CanSat competition. The CanSat is then to descend to the ground on a parachute and complete two missions during this time:

Primary mission

The satellite will measure air pressure and temperature. From the measured air pressure, the altitude and the rate of fall are to determined. With the help of the temperature measurement data a temperature profile will be created.

Secondary mission

The satellite is to carry out a mission developed by the participating teams themselves. The satellite could, for example, make further measurements or conduct experiments. Here, scientific and technical ingenuity can be given free rein. The starting point can be a scientific question, a technical problem or a project idea of social relevance.

Participating teams will be required to draw up a project plan, submit reports by set deadlines and present the results of the campaign in the form of a presentation. Successful public relations work and the acquisition of sponsors will also be considered in the jury’s decision. The winners of the Luxembourg CanSat competition are qualified to participate in the international competition of the European Space Agency (ESA).

ESA provides the participating teams with a CanSat basic set, which contains the components required for the primary mission. The participating teams have to procure the other components required for the secondary mission themselves if they want to go further. The central component of the CanSat basic set is a microcontroller board that can be programmed in exactly the same way as Arduino’s open-source electronics platform. The task of the participating teams includes the development of the electronic circuit, soldering of the individual components and programming of the microprocessor.