Australian Team Finishes in Top 5 in French CanSat Competition

Australian Team Finishes in Top 5 in French CanSat Competition

After months of hard work the students from The King David School in Melbourne have finished in the top 5 of the French CanSat Competition in Biscarosse. The Australian team was the only team to include secondary school students and one of only five teams out of sixteen to make it through the qualifying round.

The Australian team’s final data analysis presentation was well received.. Helen Page, from the ESA Education Office commented that it was a “Very nice collaboration between University mentors, High School students and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre. You were able to receive the telemetered data and whilst you may not have been happy with some of the data points, your analysis was good. You should be proud of your results for this, your first year of competing in CanSat.” Representatives from the European Space Agency (ESA), French Space Agency (CNES) and Planete Sciences were very keen to see an Australian team back next year.

Project Manager and Physics Teacher, Milorad Cerovac said that “It's not an easy competition, but ultimately perseverance paid off. During the qualifying stage our RF antenna deployed successfully, but we had to abandon the OzESat as we again suffered from signal transmission problems. We worked on this throughout the night and managed to fix up the problem in time for the final launch. This time the telemetry worked well, but the RF antenna failed to deploy. C'est la vie! The guys were terrific in analysing their technical problems with the hardware and the telemetered data (some of the captured data was clearly incorrect), which the judges appreciated.”  

Just like in real engineering projects things go wrong and the students have to draw on all their problem solving skills to move forward. The French and Austrian teams failed to capture and transmit any GPS data, although the French team were able to record data to an SD card during their descent, which they were subsequently able to analyse with sophisticated software. The Austrian team airbag system also failed due to human error, which caused the bag to inflate on take-off rather than on touch down. The Turkish team’s microcontroller failed to trigger key aspects of their mission due to an incorrect assumption regarding the release altitude in their programming code.

The Budstar team from France were ultimately announced as the winners. The Australian students gained invaluable experience from their first competition and gathered lots of ideas from the other teams. They are already planning their next entry.

Congratulations to the whole team and best wishes for your next challenge……exams!