Introduction to CanSat

What is a CanSat?

Photo: Andøya Space Education

A CanSat is a representation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a soft drink can (330 ml). The challenge for the students is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system, into this minimal volume. The CanSat is then launched to an altitude of a few hundred meters by a rocket or dropped from a platform, a drone or captive balloon, and its mission begins: to carry out a scientific experiment and achieve a safe landing.

CanSats offer a unique opportunity for students to have a first practical experience of a real space projects. They are responsible for all aspects: selecting its mission, designing the CanSat, integrating the components, programming the on-board computer, testing, preparing for launch and then analysing the data.

There different CanSat-kits

In this documentation two different CanSat kits have been described:

The version 6.2 CanSat-kits are based on an Arduino Uno board and a sensor shield board. The Andøya Space Education 2018 is based on a Teensy 3.5 and is programmed in the Arduino programming language like the other versions.

Arduino Uno R3 (Wikipedia)
Arduino Uno R3 (Wikipedia)

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators.

Here are some examples on Arduino projects:

  • Make an automatic night light which switches on when its dark
  • Intrusion alarm
  • Thermostat
  • Line Follower Robot
  • Ham radio Morse code keyed/propagation beacon.
  • Graphical calculator that graphs serial inputs on a graphical LCD.
  • Wi-Fi controlled RC-Car

Many more ideas can be found at

Version 6.2 CanSat kit:

The sensor shield card has been developed at the University of Aalborg by Professor Jens Dalsgaard Nielsen and Simon Jensen. The shield has been designed to include:

  • Communication radio (APC220) with antenna
  • Temperature sensor (NTC 10k)
  • a multiple sensor package GY-91, with pressure sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope
  • MicroSD storage card (OpenLog)

You can find information, building instructions and a lot more for the version 6.2 CanSat here.

The Andøya Space Education 2018 CanSat kit:

The Andøya Space Education 2018 CanSat kit is based on a Teensy 3.5 processor and includes an analogue temperature sensor and a digital sensor package GY-91.

You can find information, building instructions and a lot more for the Andøya Space Education 2018 CanSat here.