Team Rocket to represent country

FOUR STUDENTS at Crescent College Comprehensive are hoping to touch the sky with their NASA inspired design in Norway this week.

FOUR STUDENTS at Crescent College Comprehensive are hoping to touch the sky with their NASA inspired design in Norway this week.

The students, along with teacher Anne O’Dea, are currently in the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway to take part in the European CanSat final, which runs until this Friday.

Limerick’s Team Rocket, which won the final of Ireland’s pilot CanSat competition, are representing the country at this event piloted by the European Space Agency.Their entry has been described by the University of Limerick, where the Irish final was held, as amounting to “scientific ingenuity.”

The four sixth year school pupils on the team are Gavin Randles, Eimear O’Sullivan, James Ryan and Gearoid Moore. For six months they worked on building a simulation of a real satellite small enough to fit into a 350ml soft drink can. Students had to design a CanSat with all the component parts of a satellite, including power, sensors and a communications system, squeezing them into the miniature frame. The students were announced as the winners at the final of the pilot CanSat competition in UL in December, beating off competition from from Laurel Hill and Castletroy College.

The teams carried out tests to simulate the descent of a CanSat after ejection from a rocket.

These tests served to evaluate the performance of the CanSat recovery or parachute system, a crucial element of the CanSat mission. All teams demonstrated that their design would ensure a safe landing of the CanSat. The final selection was based upon a number of key criteria, including the scientific and technical merit of the proposed mission.

Ann Fitzpatrick, European Space Education Resource Office Ireland manager, said the purpose of the competition is to “open up the possibilities of space and exploration to secondary school students.”

Brian O’Mara, engineering manager at Analog Devices, said the students’ entries “bodes well for the future of science and engineering professions in Ireland.”