Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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UMN CanSat teams prepare for
upcoming spring competition

Teams of University undergrads prepare for the upcoming 2014 International CanSat competition, hosted in Burkett, Texas.

The U's CanSat competitive club team was formed in early October 2012 with the goal of placing in the competition's top ten participants. The first year, the team found a short in the cansat's motherboard the evening before the competition and place 16th out of the competition's 26 teams. Based on the previous year's experience, the UMN 2013 team prepared for potential hardware failures, purchasing multiple backup parts, and managed to place 6th of the 22 teams that competed.

"We have two teams entering this upcoming 2013 competition and our goal is to have both place in the top five," said Dan Bickelhaupt, AEM student and project lead for team Minne-SAT-a. "To achieve this goal we began fundraising and prototyping earlier than previous years."

The objective of the CanSat Competition is to launch a carrier/lander system, referred to as the "cansat." The cansat must be designed to safely carry an egg and include elements such as a flight computer, a GPS, and pressure and altitude sensors. Data from the cansat must be transmitted to, collected, and viewed by the teams in real time and stored for later analysis.

"While the competition's objective always remains the same, each year's mission differs," explains William Garrard, AEM Professor and Director of the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium. "This year, the mission is to simulate a sensor payload traveling through a planetary atmosphere and sampling the atmospheric composition during descent."

The teams have broken down their preparation for the upcoming competition into three stages: preliminary design, critical design and build phases. In the preliminary design phase, the teams prepare a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to present to the judges. The critical design phase includes outlining the teams' final cansat design and preparing a Critical Design Review (CDR) to be presented to the judges. The build phase takes the CDR and makes it a reality.

"We are currently in the PDR phase," explains Andrew Mahon, AEM student and project lead for team Skyfall. "Each team includes several members who have competed in previous years and we believe this experience, combined with the support of our advisors and sponsors, provides us with a great advantage for this year's competition.

Supporting both CanSat teams is William Garrard, AEM Professor and Director of the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium; Peter Seiler, AEM Assistant Professor; and Yohannes Ketema, AEM Contract Associate Professor. Competition sponsors include AIAA, NASA, the American Astonautical Society, the Naval Research Laboratory, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Praxis Inc., and Integral Systems.

The 2014 team rosters are as follows:

Team Minne-SAT-a: Dan Bickelhaupt*, Zack Thompson, Jordan Bestland, Stephanie Wegner, Patipan Pipatpinyopong, Dane Mandy, Aditiya Kulkarni*, Tom Hinrichs, Jordan Holmen, Zach Sarazine, Maisus Wong, Caleb Carlson*, Katiee Glasheen and Bryce Doerr.

Team Skyfall: Andrew Mahon*, Wesley Schwartz, Ben McGahon, Jacqueline Sotraidis, Chad Serba, Alex King, Tieler Callazo*, Ross McEwen, Joel Amert, Josh Weed, LiHua Zheng*, Ken States, Jarod Morrissette and Nolan Schwab.

* Indicates involvement with the 2013 CanSat team

The 2013 University of Minnesota CanSat Team.

Last Modified: 2013-12-03 at 14:58:31 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation