University CanSat Challenge 2015

University CanSat Challenge 2015

Introduction : The University CanSat Challenge – CanSat comes to India is a design-build-fly competition that provides teams with an opportunity to experience the design life-cycle of an aerospace system. The University CanSat Challenge is designed to reflect a typical aerospace program on a small scale. 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 challenge on real world deliverables such as schedules, design reviews, and demonstration flights. This challenge will provide the background knowledge needed to facilitate near earth explorations in their own classroom. Here you will get to learn about how to proceed on like a conceptual satellite design phase gearing you up for future missions.It’s a multi-disciplinary project involving all the departments of engineering and certainly will take you further into building space missions.

History : In 1998, about 50 students and faculties from 12 universities from the United States and Japan met at a symposium held in Hawaii. It was the first "University Space Systems Symposium". Here, Bob Twiggs, professor emeritus at the Stanford University, proposed the initial idea of what later would become the nano-satellite projects. That idea was to launch a structure of the size of a soda can into space. Its volume should be around 350 millilitres and the mass, about 500 grams. This led to a project that began in 1999 called ARLISS, involving mostly American and Japanese Universities, carrying out the first launch on September, 11th of that year and continuing each year without interruption. The initial idea, still prevalent today, was to launch 3 satellites of 350 millilitres, or a satellite of greater volume. The means would be a rocket capable of moving 1.8 kilos and of ascending to 4000 meters, opening the door to low cost space flights -about $400. This has continued to be named as CanSats and taken up a good grip in all the major space focusing countries and thus we have brought it to India creating a breakthrough.

Mission Overview

The mission is to launch an autonomous CanSat with a deployable lander containing a payload (size and weight of an egg). The CanSat consists of two parts, the carrier and the lander. The carrier holds & releases the lander. The term “CanSat” shall refer to complete system - the carrier and lander.

The CanSat will be deployed from a launch vehicle at an altitude of 400 to 500 meters. Once released, the CanSat shall descend at 10 meters per second using any type of passive descent control system or device. At 150 meters altitude, the CanSat carrier shall release the lander that contains the payload. The lander shall land without damaging the payload. The lander cannot free fall and it must contain a descent control system or device to reduce the descent rate to less than 5 meters per second. The carrier telemetry data should be stored on-board for post processing in the event of a communication failure.

Teams must build their own ground station. Telemetry from the carrier shall be displayed, in real-time, on a team developed ground control station.

Quick Guide

• The team is required to design the entire module comprising of systems like PayloadUnit, On Board Computer & Software Development, Telemetry & GPS Tracking,Command & Data Handling, Ground Station Control, Housekeeping & Descent Control,Power Unit & Circuitry, Structure & Payload Health Unit and others related.

• The main objective of the competition is to launch your designed payload to a certain altitude and put your system to real test environment with secondary objectives to acquire the payload data and perform given tasks.

• The payload design has to be done and procured by your team which will laterbe mounted on your fabricated structure model. We are looking for interesting and innovative payload concepts and the most innovative experiments will make it to top.

• The first step of the launch is to load your structure/payload to the given casing of the launch vehicle which will deploy the CanSat at the given altitude.

• The CanSat (Cylinder of 10cm diameter-20cm height &500 grams weight) will be attached to the primary parachute’s shrouds.

• The Carrier has to begin transmitting live payload data to the ground station and thedata needs to be displayed graphically as well has to be stored on board for postprocessing of lost data. GPS tracking sequence also has to be initiated before thelaunch.

• Upon reaching the final countdown and after launching, the Tracking team has to startmonitoring the trajectory of the CanSat and follow its trail after the launch for therecovery using GPS trackers, ground station data and radio data. Remember, the modulecan go far away.

• After the crossing of 400 m altitude, the CanSat will be deployed from the Launch Vehicle the CanSat starts its experiment from then.

• Role of the descent system begins where the descent rate has to be maintained at an average of10 m/s using parachutes designed by you.

• Upon descending to an altitude of150m, the lander will have to be deployed/released off from the Carrier and it should perform its task as selected by your team.

• The locating beacon i.e. the buzzer has to be of very high intensity andshould initiate after crossing 200m mark. The parachute color also should be selectedproperly so that the module can be located visually very easily.

• After successful recovery of the module, the team need to get back to launch site fordata collection and after that the team will be given 1 day time to prepare the PostFlight Review.

• Collective marks of Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, LaunchAchievements and Post Flight Review will decide the winner of the competition.

Evaluation and Scoring

Teams shall be scored on all design reviews and deliverable items as well as the demonstration flight operations. Each deliverable shall contribute to the overall score according to the values listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Summary of competition scoring

Deliverable - % of Total Score

Administration - 5

Preliminary Design Review - 15

Critical Design Review - 20

Flight Operations -40

Post Flight Review - 20

Each team shall receive a link to their scores for the competition. Scores will be updated within one week of completing the reviews. Questions related to scoring shall be addressed to the team mentor.

Team Size

Each team shall consist of between 3 to 7 students from an accredited college or university. Team can be comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students.

Launch Schedule

Prelim Design Review: October 2015

Critical Design Review: November 2015

The launch schedule shall be intimidated via email to the registered teams. (January 2016 as best probability)


The details of registration are provided on the website @

Deadline: 25th August, 2015

You can also connect to for any queries.

Prizes: Cash Prizes worth 25k to the winners Best Innovation Award, Best Software Award, Best Payload Award, Best Structure Award and more. Internship opportunity at ARDL and with other partners.

For more details & Eligibility, Terms and Conditions please refer the Website : University CanSat Challenge 2015


University CanSat Challenge 2015