Rocket launch propels Limerick students to Europe

The Coláiste Chiaráin team that won the Irish CanSat final (from left):Breian Dunne, Conor Power (Teacher), Nathan Ndlovu, Oscar Gutierrez Roman, Petr Pershin, Seán O’Sullivan, Michal Gogloza, and Rachel Molloy (ESERO Ireland).

A SUCCESSFUL rocket launch propelled a team of County Limerick secondary school students to new heights when they qualified to represent Ireland at this year’s European CanSat finals.

The six member team from Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom launched a mini-satellite to a height of 350 metres as part of the Irish CanSat final at Emo Court outside Portlaoise on Thursday.

They then presented their analysis, recordings and flight patterns to a judging panel of experts from a range of STEM fields yesterday (Friday) before being announced as overall winners of the national competition that began last September.

The Coláiste Chiaráin team of Breian Dunne, Nathan Ndlovu, Oscar Gutierrez Roman, Petr Pershin, Seán O’Sullivan and Michal Gogloza qualified for the national final as winners of the regional final at the Munster Technological University in Tralee.

The CanSat Ireland competition is an ESERO Ireland collaboration, co-funded by the European Space Agency and Science Foundation Ireland and coordinated by MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory.

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A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite developed in the size and shape of a soda can.  A European Space Agency initiative, the competition fosters an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) careers by offering students a hands-on experience of a space-themed project.

The multidisciplinary nature of the project ensures students are exposed to a broad array of industry-relevant topics which are applicable to a multitude of potential career paths.

Congratulating the winning team, ESERO Ireland Supervisor Alison Boyle said that Coláiste Chiaráin should be immensely proud of themselves as all participants in this year’s competition performed admirably, and the standard of scientific literacy on display was truly impressive.

“Winning the National Final of the CanSat competition is a tremendous achievement, particularly when the level of competition is as high as it was this year. Science Foundation Ireland is proud to support the STEM researchers of tomorrow by supporting STEM education and research”, Ms Boyle added.

The Coláiste Chiaráin  team was sponsored by MIDAS (The Industry Association for Microelectronics and Electronic Systems Design in Ireland) and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) to support their travel to Europe.