CanSat 2018, a European space-themed competition for second level students developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), was launched this week during Ireland’s Space Week.

The competition encourages teams of school students to compete to design, build and test a mini-satellite or CanSat, which is a simulation of a real satellite, built inside an empty soft drink can.

In 2016 Ireland finished 3rd in the European finals and in 2017 Ireland finished 2nd in the European finals, so this year Ireland is hoping for an overall win in Europe.

CanSat Ireland is open to post-primary students, Transition Year and upwards. The competition is designed to give students their first practical experience of a real space project and aims to encourage school students to consider careers in science and engineering.

CanSat Ireland, the Irish national competition, started in 2012 and is co-ordinated by the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) Ireland which is based at Science Foundation Ireland and Cork Institute of Technology’s Blackrock Castle Observatory. The Institutes of Technology in Athlone, Cork, Dublin, Galway-Mayo, Limerick, and Sligo act as Regional partners and provide mentoring and support to participating schools, with the assistance of local industry, as well as managing regional qualifying competitions for the CanSat Ireland National Final.

The European Space Agency CanSat programme is a tremendous opportunity for Irish students to learn significant elements of STEM, while also being exposed to local industry in the area of STEM. Students are exposed to advanced electronics, computer coding, instrumentation, aero-dynamics, rocketry, data integrity & analysis, team building and more. The winner of the CanSat Ireland National Final then has the opportunity to represent Ireland by participating in the European CanSat Competition which challenges teams from other European countries to compete against each other.

Schools interested in participating in CanSat should contact Alan Giltinan at Blackrock Castle Observatory by email at [email protected] and by phone at 021 4326125

Space Week runs until October 10.  With over 100 events in 18 counties, many of which will be hosted by world-leading experts, this promises to be an exceptionally exciting and engaging programme with something for everyone.

National organisers for this prestigious event are Cork’s international award-winning Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO), in association with Science Foundation Ireland and European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) Ireland.

For more on Space Week, see www.spaceweek.ie