25 April 2014

2014 ESERO Ireland – CEIA CanSat competition winners announced

A rocket launch at the CanSat Final, held in Birr Castle

March 2014 – Secondary school students from Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick  were today announced as winners of the 2014 ESERO Ireland – CEIA CanSat competition at  Birr Castle, Co. Offaly. The team will now go on to represent Ireland at the European CanSat final in Andoya, Norway in June of this year.

Six teams from schools across Ireland took part in this unique space project to create a CanSat – a simulation of a real satellite which fits into the volume of a soft drinks can. The teams have been working tirelessly since October with mentors from Dublin Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and industry partners to bring their CanSat from design stage to lift off.

Having selected the missions, tested and integrated the components, teams today launched their CanSats using a quadcopter and a rocket (built by Rocketry Ireland), which after release at high altitudes, returned to Earth safely using a parachute.  For the Primary Mission, the CanSat captured air temperature and atmospheric pressure data from its environment using sensors as it ascended and descended.  It then transmitted the data wirelessly to the ground-station – a laptop.  Teams also undertook Secondary Missions such as using a GPS module to track the CanSat position, measuring wind shear using a custom built anemometer, measuring rotation and acceleration in 3 dimensions, measuring air humidity and comparing the thermal insulating properties of different surfaces and materials with a view to designing high-altitude clothing.  The teams then analysed the data and presented their findings to a panel of judges.

Speaking at the final, CanSat competition partner, Eamon Connolly of CEIA said, “CanSat is unique in that it offers transition year students and teachers the chance to conduct a real science experiment and the standard of work on display here today is testament to all involved. It is fantastic to see how the teams have worked together at every stage of the process – designing the CanSat, selecting its mission, integrating the components, testing, preparing for launch, receiving the data on the ground and then analysing and presenting the data to the judges here today.”

Irish students have achieved notable success in the European CanSat competition, run by the European Space Agency (ESA).  Last year, the winners of the national CanSat competition, a team of nine students from Colaiste an Phiarsaigh in Glanmire, Cork, went on to achieve second place at the European CanSat final in the Netherlands, where their CanSat was launched by rocket to an altitude of 1km.

CanSat is a joint collaboration between ESERO Ireland (European Space Education Resource Office) and Cork Electronics Industry Association (, and is co-funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme. All missions were reviewed and evaluated by a judging panel that included Neil Murray from ESA, Stephanie O’Neill, ESERO Ireland and Niall Smith from Cork Institute of Technology and Blackrock Castle Observatory.

Stephanie O’Neill, ESERO Ireland Manager, Science Foundation Ireland, said “The CanSat competition offers hands on practical experience of the possibilities of space and exploration.  ESERO Ireland’s ambition, with the assistance of the European Space Agency, is to engage secondary school students in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects by participating in projects such as CanSat and thus realising the accessibility of STEM careers, including the space sector, in Ireland and abroad. There are tangible benefits to participating in the CanSat competition. Students are developing core skills required by the numerous Irish companies currently thriving in the space sector. The interest in the competition from schools this year is indicative of the growing national interest in STEM subject initiatives and careers nationwide.  I congratulate all the teams on taking part and I wish the team from Crescent College Comprehensive the best of luck as they represent Ireland at the European final in Andoya.”

For further information, please contact:

David Callaghan – Edelman 01 678 9333 / 087 938 8880

Rockets, Balloons and Snow Castles

Eighty-five students have taken part in a training week at the SSC Esrange Space Centre in Kiruna, Sweden. It is from there that they will launch their experiments on high-altitude balloons and sounding rockets later this year and next.

The training week took place between 3-7 March 2014. It was an intensive week that gave the students everything they needed to know in order to design and build successful experiments.

Find out more on the ESA Website

Student opportunities for IAC 2014

ESA’s Education Office offers European students the opportunity to attend the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). This year’s IAC will be held from 29 September – 3 October in Toronto, Canada.

The theme of the 65th edition of IAC is “Our World Needs Space”.

The congress is the main annual meeting point for space professionals and provides participating students with a once in a lifetime opportunity to create many valuable contacts with both professionals and like-minded students from all over the world.

Throughout the congress students can interact with experts, listen to their views on the future of space and learn about the latest developments in the space industry. At the same time students are encouraged to actively contribute to the congress by presenting their own research to the space community. Some will have the opportunity to give presentations in the official technical sessions of the congress, alongside leading space experts who can often provide valuable feedback and guidance.

Students selected by ESA will be sponsored in order to cover their registration fees and a contribution towards travel and accommodation expenses will be given.

Further information and eligibility criteria

ESA Summer Workshop for Teachers 2014

This year ESA is once again organising a summer workshop for secondary school teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related subjects. The workshop  will be held at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), located in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from 21 – 25 July 2014.

How and when to apply

A limited number of places are available at the ESA Summer Workshop for Teachers. Teachers wishing to participate in the workshop should complete the online application form.  Online Application Form

The deadline for receipt of applications is 25 April 2014 12:00 CET (11:00 GMT).

Successful applicants will be informed that they have secured a place at the workshop on or before 16 May 2014.

Visit the ESA Website ESA Website for further information.

ESERO Ireland sponsors Rosetta events at Blackrock Castle Observatory on 20th January

On Jan 20, 2014, people all around the world will take part in the European Space Agency’s Wake Up, Rosetta event. The Rosetta mission is a daring attempt to land on a comet in order to find out more about the early stages of the Solar System and the source of water on Earth. Launched in 2004, Rosetta has travelled throughout the solar system and around the Sun five times. When travelling towards the orbit of Jupiter, Rosetta went into deep hibernation; the spacecraft’s internal alarm clock is set for 10:00 GMT on January 20, 2014. When it wakes, it will find itself 673 million kilometres away from the Sun and on course to its destination, the comet 67-P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The Rosetta event is a scientific, but also Irish, triumph. Irish scientists have worked directly on the mission: CAPTEC, a software company based in Malahide, Co.Dublin, worked on the software that helps Rosetta communicate with the smaller probe that will land on the comet’s surface in November; Space Technology Ireland at NUI Maynooth built mission critical hardware to deal with data being returned by the lander; scientists in Cork’s Tyndall National Institute are working on microelectronics technology testing for similar ESA space missions. These, and every scientist working on comet missions, will benefit enormously from the data returned by this mission.

There are several key events this year in the Rosetta mission. Rosetta will catch up with the comet, get into orbit around it, map the surface and then deploy its lander, Philae. Before any of this, however, Rosetta must wake from a lengthy hibernation, warm up and re-establish contact with Earth.

To celebrate this historic event in Ireland, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory (CIT BCO) will host a FREE Wake Up Rosetta event all day on Jan 20 in association with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO Ireland). In the morning, BCO will welcome 100 lucky students, winners of the Rosetta Competition to the award winning visitor centre, Cosmos at the Castle, Ireland’s interactive space science exhibit and the public in the afternoon.

In the morning, students will make their own comets and Rosetta Ribbons; see an all-new bespoke comet-based planetarium show in Ireland’s only full-time planetarium; and witness a live video link to Rosetta Mission Control at the European Space Agency. The participating students will also meet Irish scientists and researchers working on ESA missions so they can explore this exciting and achievable career path. The students will also engage in the first ever schools’ video link up with Tyndall National Institute, where they will speak to scientists live in the Tyndall lab who will demonstrate Cork-based space mission microelectronics technology testing.

In the afternoon, the public can visit BCO for FREE from 14:30-17:00 to witness the live link up with Rosetta and enjoy the bespoke comet-hunter experience (Shows at 15:00 and 15:30, Numbers limited to 15 per planetarium show on a first come first served basis). Attendees will also meet with real-life scientists working in Ireland and discuss the technology, advances and the exciting world of space science and robotics.

According to Stephanie O’Neill, ESERO Ireland Manager, “the event is an exciting collaboration between ESERO Ireland, ESA, Tyndall National Institute and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. Rosetta is a real comet hunter in deep space and this event is giving people the opportunity to be there when it wakes and to speak to scientists who are working in Ireland on missions such as this. This exciting work is happening every day in Ireland and will hopefully further stimulate the public’s interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)”.

Wake Up Rosetta

« Previous Entries