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EECS Students Win CanSat Competition

November 15, 2006

A panel of NASA judges awarded University of Kansas students first place at the national CanSat competition in Manassas, Va. The summer launch completed a semester-long project in which EECS and aerospace students designed and built soda-can sized satellites, CanSats.

The KU Imager team competed in the advanced mission, which required CanSats to record multiple aerial images of the ground and then create a map from collected data. Satellites captured position and altitude in real time while compensating for orientation and altitude changes. The team with the most accurate map won the flight portion of the competition. Students also conducted a final post flight briefing, presenting a summary of their design and the results and analysis of their mission.

The CanSat Imager avionics team was made up of the following EE students: Nigel Dunham, Mishari Al-Nahedh, Yi Yang, Ibrahima Diack, and Anthony Olson. Additional competition members included four aerospace engineering students. EECS Professor Glenn Prescott mentored and advised the engineering students and Dr. Trevor Sorensen was an advisor.

“Throughout the semester we were focused on developing a great system. By the time it was completed, we really thought we could be very competitive. Little did we know, we would be the only university who would complete the Imager project. Winning the competition was extremely exciting,” said Dunham, CanSat Imager team leader.

A second group, the KU Sensor team, earned third place in the undergraduate mission. Their satellite recorded the temperature and altitude readings and relaying data wirelessly to the ground computer.

The KU Imager team won $2,500 with the third-place finishers receiving $1,000.

The American Astronautical Society (AAS), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), National Space Grant Consortia (NSGC), and Universities Space Research Association (USRA) organize the annual student competition. The CanSat competition aims to impart an understanding of a project life cycle, from development to deployment.

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