A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a regular soft drink can. The challenge for the students is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite such as power and communications into a soda can of 350ml. After release from a rocket or a captive balloon the CanSat has to perform a certain mission and land safety on the ground.
The first CanSat competition was held in 1999 in United States and since then many competitions have taken place around the world and during recent years in Europe. Several ESA Member States as the Netherlands, France, Spain and Norway have recently initiated CanSat competitions for high school and university students.
A CanSat competition offers the opportunity to high-school and university students to have a first experience of a real space mission starting with design, through integration, testing, launching, data analysis and presentation of results. It is also a good platform for developing skills, both general (e.g. scientific enquiry, technical design, data analysis and presentation, teamwork) and practical (e.g. soldering, building electronics, software programming, testing).
For more information, please visit the CanSats in Europe platform.