CanSat

  • CanSat Competition
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2009
  • 2008
Congratulations to the 2016 CanSat Teams!
Team SkyDive won 3rd Place while team Slam Dance placed 12th and Team SkyFall placed 14th at the 2016 CanSat competition!

CanSat Photos



CanSat Summary

The International CanSat Competition is held every year in early June. The current location is Burkett, Texas. It is sponsored by AIAA, AAS, and NASA. The CanSat competition is a design-build-fly competition that provides teams with an opportunity to experience the design life-cycle of an aerospace system. The CanSat competition is designed to reflect a typical aerospace program on a small scale and includes all aspects of an aerospace program from the preliminary design review to post mission review. The mission and its requirements are designed to reflect various aspects of real world missions including telemetry requirements, communications, and autonomous operations. Each team is scored throughout the competition on real-world deliverables such as schedules, design review presentations, and demonstration flights.

Mission Guide for CanSat 2016


CanSat 2016

The Space Hardware Club sent 3 teams to CanSat this year. Team SkyDive won 3rd Place in the world while Team SlamDance placed 12th overall and Team SkyFall placed 14th overall out of 69 teams at the 2016 CanSat competition!


2016 CanSat Mission

The 2016 mission simulates a sensor payload traveling through a planetary atmosphere sampling the atmospheric composition during flight. The overall CanSat system is composed of two primary components, a glider and a re-entry container that protects the glider during ascent, "near-apogee" deployment and initial reentry/descent. The CanSat 2016 Mission is to create a fixed wing glider with the ability to record speed, temperature, pressure, and altitude with surface and GPS instruments.

Mission Guide for CanSat 2016

  • SlamDance
  • SkyFall
  • SkyDive

Team SlamDance



The team took 12th place at the competition.

Team SkyFall


Team Skyfall developed a CanSat based on a deployable Rogallo wing, a team-designed and assembled printed circuit board, and team-written flight software. The final CanSat exhibited a reasonable descent rate, a mechanical release mechanism, and the ability to transmit images while in flight. Unfortunately, a series of malfunctions and a lack of backup parts kept the design from living up to its full potential, leading to a 14th place finish out of 40 finalists.

The mechanical design of the glider underwent numerous revisions. During the process, the team learned to use composite materials, Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, and the Space Hardware Club's 3d printer. The competition drove home the importance of properly assessing design choices, proper material selection, and thorough testing.

Printed circuit board (before soldering on components)
The electrical system of the CanSat used a team-designed Printed Circuit Board (PCB) to connect the electrical power subsystem, the GPS receiver, air pressure sensors, servo motor, camera module, and the servo motor to the CanSat's MicroController (a small computer that acted as the system's "brain"). Damage to the board during failed flight tests required last-minute repairs and modifications to assemble a working system in time for the competition. This underlined the importance of easy assembly and having backup components and systems.

Picture taken and transmitted by the CanSat during recovery
The CanSat's flight software was developed over the course of 7 months, eventually comprising 5,916 lines of C. It collected data from two air pressure and temperature sensors, a GPS receiver, and a battery voltage measurement circuit 10 times a second, and used this data to calculate its altitude, vertical velocity, and airspeed. It was capable of taking and transmitting images in flight, while simultaneously transmitting data collected from its sensors. While the flight software worked almost flawlessly in flight, ground station software development was delayed by finishing the flight software and electrical malfunctions. This demonstrated to the team the necessity of maintaining an adequate time margin for software development and testing.

While team Skyfall scored lower than some teams, it still placed in the top 50% of finalists, an exceptional achievement for a team composed almost entirely of freshmen. While each subsystem experienced problems, all of the issues could be traced to a cause. The valuable lessons learned from this will be applied to the team members' future projects.

Meet the Team

From left: Bradley Henderson, Benjamin Thompson, Lucas Capps, Connor Gisburne, Elena Pradhan, Walter Dietzler, Daniel Corey, unknown competition judge, and Will Hill
Team lead: Walter Dietzler
Alternate Team Lead: Daniel Corey
Electrical Subteam: Elena Pradhan and Daniel Corey
Ground Station Subteam: Elena Pradhan and Daniel Corey
Mechanical Subteam: Lucas Capps, Connor Gisburne, Benjamin Thompson, Walter Dietzler, Bradley Henderson, and Daniel Corey
Software Subteam: Daniel Corey, Elena Pradhan, and William Hankins

 

Team Skyfall Design Reviews

CanSat 2016 Preliminary Design Review Team Skyfall (pdf)
CanSat 2016 Critical Design Review Team Skyfall (pdf)
CanSat 2016 Post Flight Review Team Skyfall (pdf)

Team SkyDive


Team SkyDive Placed 3rd out of 40 teams this year at the International CanSat Competition in 2016. The SkyDive design used flexible fiberglass wings that folded in to fit in the canister and a body/tail made of carbon fiber and ABS. The glider design was different from others due to the structure folding that was similar to a tape measure rolling up.

Top Row from Left: Will Barton, Nate Roth, and Lloyd Walker
Bottom Row from Left: Melissa Anderson, Eliza Dellert, Jarod Matlock


Meet the Team

Lloyd Walker - Team Lead
Melissa Anderson - Assistant Team Lead
Will Barton - Mechanical Lead
Nate Roth - Software Lead
Jarod Matlock - Electrical Lead
Eliza Dellert - Software












Team SkyDive Design Reviews

CanSat 2016 Preliminary Design Review Team SkyDive (pdf)
CanSat 2016 Critical Design Review Team SkyDive(pdf)

CanSat 2015

The Space Hardware Club sent 3 teams to CanSat this year. Team GroundPounder won 2nd Place in the world (1st Place in the United States) while team SunStreaker placed 10th overall (6th in U.S.) and Team SkyHammer placed 11th overall (7th in U.S.) out of 67 teams at the 2015 CanSat competition!

From left to right are Akifumi Takeyama, Brent Kennamer, Adam Eldemire, Matt Rodencal, James Biaglow, Chloe McFadden, Alex Christley, Jordan Teats, Nick Jordan, Nathaniel Stepp, Will Hill, Adam Bower, Nathan Elrod, Evan Tingley, Chase Kimbrell, Prehit Patel, Evan Root, Tara Sprinkle, Trey McFerrin, Zachary Riffle, Davis Hunter, Kyle Renfroe.

2015 CanSat Mission

The 2015 mission simulates a sensor payload travelling through a planetary atmosphere sampling the atmospheric composition during descent. The CanSat system is composed of two primary components, a science payload and a re-entry container that protects the payload during ascent, "near-apogee" deployment and initial re-entry/descent. Upon deployment from the rocket the container and payload shall descend at less than 10 meters per second. The CanSat will deploy the Science Vehicle when it has determined it is stable. All operations are to be autonomous. The Science Vehicle must descend between 4m/s and 10m/s and must use a passive helicopter descent system. During descent the Science Vehicle must take Nadir facing video. From 300m to the ground, the video must be stable and not rotate more than +/-90 degrees. The payload shall safely carry one raw hen's egg, which simulates delicate payload instrumentation.

CanSat 2015 Mission Guide

  • Ground Pounder
  • Sky Hammer
  • Sun Streaker

Team GroundPounder #4316


Team GroundPounder placed 2nd out of 67 teams this year at the International CanSat Competition in 2015. The GroundPounder design used a single set of 4 rotor blades to descend at 4.5 m/s. The rotor system consisted of a 3D-Printed Hub Assembly, a low friction plastic bearing, spring steel springs for deploying the rotor blades, and perfectly balanced corrugated plastic rotor blades. Two spring-loaded arms were used to place motors and fan-blades close to the center of gravity of the CanSat. These fans were used to control the orientation of the Nadir facing camera. Nested, control loops were used to make sure the camera did not rotate +/-90 deg. The egg protection system consisted of a fiberglass containment tube and foam. The electronics bay housed all of the electronics.
A single custom-made PCB was used, which limited the number of wires and connectors used on the CanSat.
Due to its modular design, Only 2 connectors, and 3 nuts needed to be disconnected or removed to disassemble or service the CanSat Nearly all electronics were mounted to the Main PCB, including the camera board used, allowing for quick preparation before launch. By Competition the CanSat's flight software was over 27,000 lines long, and all test and operation features could be done wirelessly from the Ground Station. The GroundPounder Team was so successful because they never stopped working and wouldn't stop refining the design until it was perfect. Through 6 Test rocket launches and 30-40 drops from a quad-copter before competition, the GroundPounder Team tirelessly refined their CanSat design until it worked perfectly, every time, with some parts and systems going through dozens of design iterations. The GroundPounder Team worked day and night for months to be ready for the competition in June 2015, showing up with 3 functional CanSats, two identical flight units and a prototype. At competition, the CanSat was subjected to conditions it was never designed for after a partial rocket failure led to it being deployed from the rocket at 300m. The Science Vehicle left the rocket upside down and stabilized that way due to its nearly perfectly balanced mechanical design and its aggressive control system. Even though it fell upside down, the CanSat completed all flight objectives and even took Stabilized Nadir oriented video, just of the sky, not the ground.

From left to right are Chloe McFadden, Brent Kennamer, Matt Rodencal,
Adam Eldermire, James Biaglow

Meet the Team

James Biaglow - Team Lead
Adam Eldemire - Ground Station Lead
Brent Kennamer - Electrical Lead
Matt Rodencal- Software Lead
Chloe McFadden - Alternate Team Lead






CanSat 2015 Team 4316 GroundPounder Flight Video

Team GroundPounders Design Reviews

CanSat 2015 Preliminary Design Review Team Ground Pounder (pdf)
CanSat 2015 Critical Design Review Team Ground Pounder (pdf)
CanSat 2015 Post Flight Review Team Ground Pounder (pdf)

Team SkyHammer #4401


From left to right are Akifumi Takeyama, Will Hill, Alex Christley,
Prehit Patel, Evan Root

Meet the Team

Alex Christley - Team Lead
Will Hill - Mechanical Lead
Evan Root - Software Lead
Nick Jordan - Electrical Lead
Prehit Patel - Mechanical
Akifumi Takeyama - Electrical






Team SkyHammer Design Reviews

CanSat 2015 Preliminary Design Review Team Skyhammer (pdf)
CanSat 2015 Critical Design Review Team Skyhammer (pdf)
CanSat 2015 Post Flight Review Team Skyhammer (pdf)

Team SunStreaker #4486


From left to right are Chase Kimbrell, Kyle Renfroe, Nathan Elrod,
Davis Hunter, Tara Sprinkle

Meet the Team

Kyle Renfroe - Team Lead
Nathan Elrod - Software Lead
Forrest Bryson and Davis Hunter - Mechanical Lead
Tara Sprinkle - Ground Station Lead
Adam Bower - Electrical






Team SunStreaker Design Reviews

CanSat 2015 Preliminary Design Review Team Sunstreaker (pdf)
CanSat 2015 Critical Design Review Team Sunstreaker (pdf)
CanSat 2015 Post Flight Review Team Sunstreaker (pdf)

CanSat 2014

The Space Hardware Club sent 2 teams to CanSat this year. Team WindCharger won 3rd Place in the world (1st Place in the United States) while team Blackout placed 7th overall out of 39 teams at the 2014 CanSat competition!

From left to right are Geoff Suiter, Tevon Walker, Justin Smith, Adam Bower, Zachary Riffle, Jordan Teats, David Pickett, Josh Thibaudeau, Nathanial Long, Evan Tingley, Trey McFerrin, Chris Sparks, Ethan Hopping, Matt Rodencal, and Andrew Perka.

2014 CanSat Mission

The 2014 mission simulates a sensor payload travelling through a planetary atmosphere sampling the atmospheric composition during descent. The CanSat system is composed of two primary components, a science payload and a re-entry container that protects the payload during ascent, "near-apogee" deployment and initial re-entry/descent. Upon deployment from the rocket the container and payload shall descend at 12 meters per second. The CanSat will deploy the Science Vehicle when it has reached 500m. All operations are to be autonomous. The Science Vehicle must descend slower than 10m/s and cannot use a parachute, para-foil, streamer, or any similar device to reduce its speed. The Science Vehicle must be Environmentally Powered and cannot use batteries of any kind. Telemetry shall be collected at a minimum 1 Hz rate. The payload must transmit as much data as possible during descent The payload shall safely carry one raw hen's egg, which simulates delicate payload instrumentation.

CanSat 2014 Mission Guide

  • Blackout
  • WindCharger

Team BlackOut #1087


Meet the Team

From left to right are Matt Rodencal, Jordan Teats, Adam Bower,
Justin Smith, Tevon Walker, David Picket.
Jordan Teats - Team Lead
Adam Bower - Mechanical Lead and Electrical
Justin Smith - Ground Station and Mechanical
Tevon Walker - Software and Electrical
David Pickett - Electrical






Team Blackout Design Reviews

CanSat 2014 Preliminary Design Review Team Blackout (pdf)
CanSat 2014 Critical Design Review Team Blackout (pdf)
CanSat 2014 Post Flight Review Team Blackout (pdf)

Team WindCharger #1174


Meet the Team

Evan Tingley - Team Lead and Mechanical Lead
Nathanial Long - Ground Station
Josh Thibaudeau - Electrical
Chris Sparks - Software
Evan Unruh - Mechanical
Tara Sprinkle - Mechanical and Ground Station
Zachary Riffle - Descent Control






Team WindCharger Design Reviews

CanSat 2014 Preliminary Design Review Team Wind Charger (pdf)
CanSat 2014 Critical Design Review Team Wind Charger (pdf)
CanSat 2014 Post Flight Review Team Wind Charger (pdf)

CanSat 2013

The Space Hardware Club sent 2 teams to CanSat this year. Team Demolishor won 7th Place in the world while team Ironhide placed 21st at the 2013 CanSat competition!

From left to right are Mark Becnel, Takahiro Ishitobi, Ivan Galysh (NRL, competition director), Jim Kirkpatrick (executive director of American Astronautical Society), Ryo Suzuki, Ali Butt, Masaaki Suzuki, Matt Rodencal, Mason Manning, Glenn Scott Nesbitt II, Trey McFerrin, Josh Thibaudeau and Eric Becnel.

2013 CanSat Mission

The 2013 mission simulates a sensor payload travelling through a planetary atmosphere sampling the atmospheric composition during descent. The CanSat system is composed of two primary components, a science payload and a re-entry container that protects the payload during ascent, "near-apogee" deployment and initial re-entry/descent. Upon deployment from the rocket the container and payload shall descend at 20 meters per second. The CanSat will deploy the Science Vehicle when it has reached 400m. All operations are to be autonomous. The Science Vehicle must descend slower than 20m/s and cannot use a parachute, para-foil, streamer, or any similar device to reduce its speed. Telemetry shall be collected at a minimum 1 Hz rate. The payload shall safely carry one raw hen's egg, which simulates delicate payload instrumentation.

CanSat 2013 Mission Guide

  • Demolishor
  • Ironhide

Team Demolishor #1000


Meet the Team

From left to right are Mason Manning, Eric Becnel,
and Matt Rodencal
Mason Manning - Team Lead, Electrical, and Software
Eric Becnel - Mechanical
Matt Rodencal - Ground Station






Team Demolishor Design Reviews

CanSat 2013 Preliminary Design Review Team Demolishor (pdf)
CanSat 2013 Critical Design Review Team Demolishor (pdf)
CanSat 2013 Post Flight Review Team Demolishor (pdf)

Team Ironhide #1087


Meet the Team

From left to right are Masaaki Suzuki, Josh Thibaudeau, Trey McFerrin,
Ryo Suzuki, Ali Butt, Takahiro Ishitobi.
Trey McFerrin - Team Lead and Mechanical
Josh Thibaudeau - Mecanical
Evan Tingley - Mechanical
Masaaki Suzuki - Electrical
Ryo Suzuki - Ground Station
Takahiro Ishitobi -Ground Station
Ali Butt - Software
Glenn Scott Nesbitt II - Software






Team Ironhide Design Reviews

CanSat 2013 Preliminary Design Review Ironhide (pdf)
CanSat 2013 Critical Design Review Ironhide (pdf)
CanSat 2013 Post Flight Review Ironhide (pdf)

CanSat 2012

The CanSat 2012 Team received 14th place out of 28 participating teams. All of our hardware worked; the mission was a success.



The 2012 UAHuntsville CanSat team was:

Amun Jarzembski - Software
Amy Parlett - Descent Control
Angela Yi - Electrical
Brittani Searcy - Mechanical
Byron Hall II - Ground Station
Geoff Suiter - Testing
Glenn Scott Nesbitt II - Software
John Alcorn - Team Lead
Tyler Hughes - Ground Station
Yang Wang - Chief Engineer


CanSat 2012 Preliminary Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2012 Critical Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2012 Post Flight Review (pdf)

Photo of the 2012 Cansat

CanSat 2011

The CanSat 2011 Team recieved 4th place out of 19 participating teams. Even though we were mostly successful, we had hardware failure due to environmental contamination. The result was that the Carrier and Lander never seperated during descent



The 2011 UAHuntsville CanSat team was:

Eric Becnel - Fabrication
Jennifer Hunt - Descent Control
John Alcorn - Team Lead
Mark Becnel - Chief Engineer
Max Avula - Software
Nathan Newcomb - Software
Stewart King - Mechanical
Tetsuya Toyama - Electrical


CanSat 2011 Preliminary Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2011 Critical Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2011 Post Flight Review (pdf)

CanSat 2009

The CanSat 2009 team won 3rd place in the competition. The system was built professionally by students including CNC machined mechanical components and custom PCBs for the electrical design. It performed its mission properly, transmitting position, housekeeping and image data on command from a ground station. Megatron could be rocket deployed into a field for over 3 hours of operation. Upon landing, the autonomous system uprighted itself and performed its mission.



The 2009 UAHuntsville CanSat team was:

Eric Becnel - Structure
James Mulroy - Alternate Project Manager
Jennifer Hunt - Recovery System
Paul Watts - Recovery System
Randy Gaillard - Electrical Components
Seiya Shimizu - Project Manager
Tammy Cottam - Recovery System


CanSat 2009 Preliminary Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2009 Critical Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2009 Post Flight Review Review (pdf)

Photo of the 2009 CanSat

CanSat 2008

UAHuntsville won 2nd place in the 2008 CanSat competition. The system worked properly except for a malfunction in the parachute. This was not a critical issue and the CanSat continued its mission as planned.



The 2008 UAHuntsville CanSat team was:

Ande Boyer - Electrical Lead, Software Design
Andrew Spain - Drag Device
Drew Moynihan - Structure, Communications
Eric Becnel - Drag & Landing Device
Eric Zirnstein - Sensor Selection
Fuhito Fukazawa - Power, Communications
James Mulroy - Alternate Project Manager
Paul Watts - Mechanical Lead, Landing Gear
Randy Gaillard - Circuit Design
Seiya Shimizu - Project Manager


CanSat 2008 Preliminary Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2008 Critical Design Review (pdf)
CanSat 2008 Post Flight Review Review (pdf)

Photo of the 2008 CanSat