2014 ESERO Ireland – CEIA CanSat competition winners announced
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 (CEIA.ie), 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:
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