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CanSat Missions

The whole idea behind the CanSat Project is to Design, Built. Launch and Simulate a Satellite Mission.

You are responsible for choosing the way the mission is fulfilled, the CanSat design, components integration, correct operation verification, launch preparation, data analysis and team organisation by distributing the workload. The process required to develop a CanSat entails a learning process known as problem-based learning, a teaching method in which You (student) must solve the problem(s) by understanding the Mission Criteria and the Requirement for a successfull CanSat Mission.

During your CanSat Operation, your CanSat will be launched and carried as payload up to an altitude of approximately 1 000 meter by a rocket. At this altitude your CanSat will be ejected from the rocket. During the descent, the CanSat must then perform the Missions and send Data to the ground via a radio transmitter.


CanSat operations are divided into two missions:
The primary mission is a common mission which all the teams have to complete. The secondary mission is a mission of your own choice, but has to be approved in advanced (of any competition).
  • Primary Mission
    After your CanSat is ejected from the rocket, the CanSat must take measurements of Air Temperature and Air Pressure during the decent
    These measurements must be transmitted as telemetry data to the ground station at least once every second.
    The received data will be used for data analysing and you/Team should be able to do calculations for altitude and make graphs of Altitude, Temperature and Time.
  • Secondary Mission(s)
    Here you are open to come up with you own idea/experiment, as long as it doesn't violate the "CanSat Competition Requirements".

Examples of secondary missions:

  • Attitude determination
    Sensors which can tell more about the CanSats orientation and movement (Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer)
  • Atmospheric research
    Additional Atmospheric Measurements (CO2, Humidity, Radiation, Pollution or other gasses)
  • Ground surveillance or mapping
    Take images or ground measurements from the air.
  • Advanced telemetry or 2-way communication
    Operate the CanSat from the ground by sending commands to performing various tasks.
  • Comeback
    Autonomously control the CanSat back to a specified landing spot (use a parafoil, wings, rotors)
  • Power management/budget
    Do measurement for power consumption and take into account requirements and use of auxiliary power (Solar cells or turbines) and/or advanced power management.

CanSat Techical Requirements

Your CanSat must meet the following Technical Requirements:

  1. All the components (with the exception of parachute, antenna and GPS) of the CanSat must fit inside a European soda can: 115 mm height and 66 mm diameter.
  2. The maximum mass of the CanSat is limited to 350 g.
  3. The CanSat should have a recovery system, such as a parachute or other mechanism for reducing decent rate.
  4. The antennas, transducers and other elements of the CanSat cannot extend beyond the can’s diameter until it has left the rocket.
  5. The deployable subsystems and recovery system can exceed the length of the primary structure, but can’t be deployed before the CanSat is fully ejected from the rocket.
  6. Flight time is limited to 120 sec (If not other agreements have been made).
  7. The descent rate must be between 8 m/s and 11m/s (If not other agreements have been made).
  8. Explosives, detonators, pyrotechnics, flammable materials, dangerous materials and biological payloads are strictly forbidden. All materials used must be safe for personnel, equipment and the environment. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) may be requested in case of doubt.
  9. The CanSat shall operate with a battery. It must be possible for the systems to be powered on for three continuous hours (in the dark).
  10. The CanSat must be able to withstand an acceleration of up to 20G.
  11. The battery must be easily accessible, in case it has to be replaced or recharged in the field.