Limerick students are over the moon with their win

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Crescent College Comp 1FOUR students from Limerick’s Crescent College Comprehensive are over the moon after winning third prize at the 2014 European CanSat Competition in Norway for their soft drinks can satellite.

Niall Keating, Tayyaba Sheikh, Chris Kelly and Hugh Fitzgibbon competed against students from 14 countries across Europe in this unique European Space Agency (ESA) competition to build a CanSat — a simulation of a real satellite integrated within the volume of a soft drinks can — that was then launched by rocket to a height of 1km.

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The Crescent College Comprehensive team had been gearing up for the competition since last September, having fought off stiff competition from five other Irish teams to soar to success at the 2014 ESERO Ireland – CEIA CanSat national final at Birr Castle in County Offaly.

The Limerick students, whose slogan is “the can that can”, worked on their project with mentors from UCC, the Cork Institute of Technology and industry experts to bring their CanSat from design stage to lift-off.

The test for finalists was to include all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system. At launch stage, the primary mission for the Crescent College four was to measure temperature and air pressure; and transmit the data to the ground station via a laptop.

As a secondary mission, the Limerick students chose to measure water vapour as well as installing an ultrasonic detector to detect objects in space and a magnetometer to detect changes in the earth’s magnetic field.

“The CanSat experience has been fantastic. From wiring up the components, analysing data, meeting local primary school children and chasing our CanSat after the rocket launch, we have had an incredible journey,” said Hugh Fitzgibbon, a member of the winning team.

“It was extremely exciting to travel to Norway and meet other students from their respective countries and share our experience with them. We were particularly proud to be flying the tricolour in the Arctic Circle,” he added.