NRL Co-Sponsors CanSat Competition

6/1/2005 - 25-05r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

The Naval Research Laboratory's Naval Center for Space Technology will co-sponsor the first annual Can Satellite (CanSat) competition to be held in Plaster City, California, on June 2-4, 2005. The competition was created to provide a unique opportunity for university teams comprised of undergraduate and graduate students to design and build a satellite that fits inside a soda can to meet a mission specified by the competition.

According to Mr. Ivan Galysh, NRL's competition manager, "The CanSats are launched on high-powered rockets reaching an altitude of about a mile and deployed to float back to earth on a parachute. The CanSats will float down for about five minutes, simulating the time a satellite is in view in a low earth orbit. The competition is designed to give the student teams hands-on experience in the life-cycle of a space program. This process includes writing the mission proposal, performing hardware design and construction on a small affordable scale, and operating the completed satellite."

Each team will be provided two missions from which to choose. One mission is to design a CanSat to collect altitude and temperature data, and to determine its distance and direction from the launch pad to it's landing. Telemetry must be transmitted at least once every 10 seconds during the flight and a command uplink is required to initiate the mission. The second mission choice requires students to image the ground and create a map of the area captured. Positioning data and CanSat status must also be transmitted to meet the telemetry requirement in addition to the uplink command to start the mission.

NRL is the lead organization of the competition with the following sponsors: American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Universities Space Research Association, Swales Aerospace, NASA Johnson Space Center, Space Systems/Loral, Department of Mechanical Engineering of McGill University, and Orbital Sciences, Inc.

"The launch is supported by the San Diego Model Rocket and High Powered Rocketry Club which will provide the launch facilities and personnel required to launch the rockets," concluded Mr. Galysh.

Information about the competition can be found at

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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