A CanSat is a type of sounding rocket payload used to teach space technology similar to the technology used in miniaturized satellites. No CanSat has ever left the atmosphere or even orbited earth. Cansat is can shaped mini satellite which is simulating a real micro satellite’s life cycles and workarounds. In CanSat competitions, it’s required to fit inside of a soda can (66mm diameter and 115mm height) and have a mass below 350g.
The CanSats are deployed from small rocket at height which varies depending on the competition. CanSats are equipped with a recovery system, usually a parachute, to limit damage upon recovery and to allow the CanSat to be reused. CanSats are used to teach space technology, because of their inexpensive price and small volume.
I was head of university cansat group in 2011 which participated in first iranian cansat competition and place at second position. Our CanSat has a low power ARM7TDMI microcontroller which will collect data from sensors, analyzes and stores them and finally sending back them to ground station.
Second mission of our CanSat was “ComeBack’ . In Comeback mission the CanSat will tries to determine its position and fly to specified position and land there. The position can be detected by GPS system and flying mechanism was a servo controlled parachute.
The project can be separated in 3 sections :
- CanSat hardwares & softwares
- CanSat mechanicals and casings
- Ground station and its software
CanSat Hardware’s & Software’s :
Our CanSat has series of sensors and one arm7 microcontroller which communicate with them and collects flying data. the sensors was :
3D Acceleration Sensor
Air pressure sensor
The CanSat also was equipped with RF transceiver module and microSD storage which enabled CanSat to communicate with ground station and storing data collected from sensors.
The softwares of CanSat developed in C via keil uVision ARM compiler and keil RTX Operating system which helped the project to make multi-tasked operations in CanSat.
Cansat hardware consist of 4 sections:
- Mother board which holds MCU , Pressure sensor, Humidity sensor, Acceleration sensor, microSD storage socket
- Gyroscope sensor board which holds Gyroscope, Power regulators, Temperature sensors
- GPS Board which holds uBlox LEA-5S GPS, SMA Connector to GPS LNA & Antenna, GPS Power supply
- RF Board which holds RF Transceiver module and battery connection.
CanSat Mechanicals :
CanSat Parachute, Flying mechanism and casing are in this category. In this CanSat we used a custom designed parachute. the parachute designed & constructed by our mechanical & aerospace members.
After designing parachute they started to design flying mechanism. The flying mechanism is two servo motors and an steering bar which will control the parachute in our way.
Ground Station Software’s & Hardware’s :
Our CanSat have a ground station which can communicate with CanSat and controlling it. Groundstation will receive data from RF transceiver and send them to PC via USB Connection. It has small lowcost Atmega128 and USB Chip. Also we programmed a compact PC software which can display CanSat status and data received from ground station.
Documentations & References :
In competition we participated, three main reports were prepared. Preliminary design report ( PDR ), Detailed design report ( DDR ) & Post flight report ( PFR ). They are in persian and all of these three reports are available for downloads here. Hop you enjoy them and be useful.
Here is some pictures from the CanSat developed in univesity of isfahan.