The 2015 CanSat Teacher Workshop took place last week at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
From 28 to 30 January, around 20 teachers from 14 ESA Member States took part in a workshop aimed at ensuring that they gain the knowledge and expertise needed to mentor their students during the CanSat development phase. Each of the participants received training on topics such as sensors and signal analysis, data handling and transmission, software installation and programming.
During the first day of the workshop the teachers from each participating team of the 2015 European CanSat Competition had the opportunity to present their proposed missions, some more ambitious than others. After having had a broad introduction to the CanSat concept, the teachers participated in a virtual tour of the International Space Station and a visit to some ESTEC facilities.
On the morning of the second day, sessions focused on software installation, sensors, signal analysis and data handling. Practical sessions involving soldering some electronic components took place in the afternoon and this was coupled with an introduction to programming, testing and integration of these sensors.
The practical aspect of the workshop concluded with participants testing their software codes and establishing radio connections with their CanSats thus simulating a basic CanSat mission. The very last session focused on presenting the 2015 European CanSat Competition Guidelines, encompassing the boundary conditions and the scoring rubric.
Throughout the workshop, participants had the opportunity to get to know the CanSat project in a perfect environment including extensive discussions with ESA experts, the CanSat competition organisers as well as teachers from other teams. The setting proved to be a perfect occasion to hear about each others projects and experiences.
An evaluation of the 2015 CanSat Teacher Workshop revealed it to be of high value and interest to all the participants – it has contributed to developing and enhancing CanSat activities among ESA Member States.
The participating teams will have to start working on their CanSats soon and submit the requested reports periodically in the following months to accomplish their missions. The Launch Campaign will take place in Portugal from 24 to 28 of June where all the teams will have the opportunity to meet each other and compete for the prizes.
By the end of the competition, students will have learned about many aspects of assembling a successful space mission, and will have had fun doing so.