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Students from St Joseph’s Borrisoleigh and Colaiste Chiarain Croom school to represent Limerick as they soar to the national CanSat Final on 15th of April

Transition and fifth year students from Ard Scoil Ris, Castletroy College and Crescent College Comprehensive (Limerick), St Caimin’s (Shannon), Colaiste Chiarain (Croom) and St Joseph’s (Borrisoleigh) competed at the Limerick Institute of Technology for the Limerick regional final of the annual European Space Agency competition CanSat competition which is supported by ESERO Ireland.

Today’s champions from St Joseph’s Borrisoleigh and Colaiste Chiarain Croom will join the winners of the Dublin, Cork, Galway and Athlone regional competitions in Birr Castle, Co. Offaly on April 15th to go head to head at the National finals and ultimately be in with the chance to represent Ireland at the European competition in June.

CanSAT 2.jpegThe project is designed to replicate a real life space mission. Teams are given a CanSat kit and asked to:
1. Fit all major subsystems found in a satellite such as power, sensors and communications in a CanSat
2. Provide a parachute to ensure the can has a gentle landing
3. Carry out scientific experiments and transmit the data to an earth based computer

The initiative is run through the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) and is co-funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme and the European Space Agency. Five Institutes of Technology, Athlone, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway-Mayo partner with ESERO Ireland to run regional competitions. They provide expert advice and training including access to state-of the-art labs, technical support and industry mentors for the competing teams.

The winners of last year’s national competition hailed from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál in Blarney, Co. Cork. The team developed a state-of-the-art soft landing system for the satellite, deployed via a two-way communication system, as their secondary objective work and received a commendation at the European finals in Portugal.

Image: Eamonn Boland from Arralis congratulating runners-up Colaiste Chiarain Croom

Speaking from LIT, Science lecturer Marie Walsh said, “The Electronic Engineering Department in LIT has been mentoring teachers and students since November in preparation for the Regional Final. This is a fantastic project and we are amazed to see the great work done by all the teams involved. It perfectly encapsulates LIT’s philosophy of active learning”. LIT also wishes to acknowledge the sponsorship for the event from Vistakon, who also provided one of the technical judges on the day.

Stephanie O’Neill, ESERO Ireland Manager, Science Foundation Ireland, said,

“In addition to developing technical skills, participation ensures that students’ progress other softer skills such as team building, problem solving and communications. The competition allows secondary school students to realise the real life opportunities available to them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). In particular it directly connects them to the international space industry and highlights the connections that exist in Ireland with this thriving sector.”

CanSAT 1.jpeg

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Photo: Hugh Ryan from Visioncare at Vistakon presenting prizes to overall winners St Joseph’s Borrisoleigh

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