CanSat ZA

The South Africa CanSatZA Team has been actively working on CanSat Projects since 1999.

Our Goals are simple:

  • Develop and make available CanSat Kits that are fun and easy to operate
  • Assist interested parties (including educators and students) by sharing information and provinding technical support
  • Provide launch vehicles (such as High Power Rockets, Balloons, RCM, UAV)  that makes launching a CanSat payload safe and predictable


Did you know?   The first CanSat to be designed in South Africa was successfully launched and recovered on 6 November 1999 by Stéfan Stoltz


Having a weight of only 275g, our first CanSat project, ZACan-1 was built around a 16bit Pic Microchip (programmed to transmit a Morse Code sequence) and a FM transmitter as payload.
..a lot has changed since 1999, and we continue to Research and have Fun with new technologies-  with each new CanSat kit delivering more functionality.

The success of our CanSat projects are closely tied to our knowledge and experience in Rocketry, Radio Controlled vehicles, High Altitude Balloons and UAV's.

Our Team has extensive experience in rocketry and hold membership to SAASA, the Official South Africa Rocketry Association, as well Tripoli, one of the largest international rocketry organizations.


With experience in the full Project Life Cycle, including Development, Logistics, Organization to Launch Day Operations, our Team can Advise, Assist or just Facilitate you achieving your goals.
In order to get your team started as quickly as possible, we supply CanSat kits and sensor-modules that will provide you with a solid foundation on which to build your First or next CanSat project.

If you are considering a CanSat Project, why not speak to us for some advice, or download our FREE CanSat Booklet.

The idea of building, launching and safely recovering a nanosatellite was first proposed by Prof Bob Twiggs (Stanford University) during the first "University Space Systems Symposium" held in 1998, Hawaii- The project evolved to what is now refered to as CanSat.

In short, a CanSat is an autonomous payload(that fits inside a soda can) that is carried and deployed by a rocket or other means such as by balloon or UAV, and which is capable of performing one or more specific missions.

The payload (CanSat) is a great learning platform for anyone interested in designing, manufacturing and analyzing satellite operations as all basic functions of a satellite (communications, powering, etc) are implemented within a 330 ml can.

The CanSat initiative intends to provide a practical approach to a real project with all its typical phases, like research and development, mission design, PDR, CDR, certification, launch campaign, results analysis, and reporting.

Although a CanSat is relatively cheap to construct, it is anticipated that you will approach your project in a professional manner and as a personal and professional challenge- through this opportunity, you can learn useful skills such asunderstanding the feasibility of a project, learning teamwork aptitudes and getting a global sight of all the parameters that lead to a successful project culmination.

The main Physical Requirements of a CanSat:

  • Mass:         Less than or equal to 350 grams
  • Diameter:   That of a standard soft drink can. The device must be able to be released from a 70mm diameter tube by its own weight
  • Lenght:      The total lenght of the device and its auxiliary equipment (antenna, recovery system...) must be less than two times the lenght of a standard soft drink can

Building on the success of the CanSat, a CubeSat reference design evolved that allows for the design and production of a low-cost workable satellite - Visit the CubeSat site