Simulating space missions using CanSats

GCRC Launch

By Jake Yawson

17th November 2021

Space has become more accessible to all through the advent of NewSpace. With emerging space technologies, people from emerging space countries such as Ghana, Mexico and Serbia have the opportunity of venturing into space. Now, space missions are being further demystified through space education, projects and competitions, such as the Ghana CanSat Rocketry Championship. This allows students to understand and work on space projects.

The Ghana CanSat Rocketry Championship (GCRC) is a competition under the World CanSat Rocketry Championship/Consortium (WCRC) and the Committee for Space Programme Development (CSPD). GCRC is led by X Space Solutions, a Ghanaian space start-up, in partnership with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) Ghana, to educate and build interest and human capacity for the Ghanaian Space. The Championship is designed to simulate all aspects of a real satellite mission, including design, development, testing, launch, operations, data analysis, and utilizing teamwork. It is open to university students in Ghana who would represent the country at the WCRC.

GCRC Launch

A CanSat is a simulation of an actual satellite enclosed in the volume and shape of a standard soft drink can (115 mm height, 66 mm diameter and 300g weight). It features all major systems of a satellite such as power, payload, communication and recovery systems. All systems except the parachute, radio antenna, and GPS antenna must be enclosed in the can. A typical CanSat mission is characterised by a launch into the atmosphere by a balloon, drone or a small rocket with the primary mission of measuring and monitoring atmospheric air pollution and an optional secondary mission. Data acquired is transmitted to the ground station via radio telemetry until the CanSat is recovered. Generally, CanSats are launched to an altitude ranging from 670m to 725m and do not leave the atmosphere or orbit the earth.

The CanSat project gives the students hands-on experience through workshops and mini contests in space systems design and manufacture. Students also add on to their technical ability in programming, electronics and computer-aided design. Soft skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork are also gained. The cheap, simple design and implementation of a CanSat make it a good educational and practical tool for learning and simulating space missions.

Sponsor Us!

Assist us on our journey to attain space technology education

Ready to enter the world of space?

Finest choice for your enthusiastic & brains

Want to know what we are doing?

Browse Our Gallery!