Elizabeth Boorman December 9, 2014

People’s fascination with outer space is one that goes back to the beginning of time. It brings out a sense of wonder in people because of its vastness and beauty.

Last summer, four German high school students with the same wonder wanted to know more about our atmosphere. They created a group called Cantucky and built a satellite as part of the “CanSat” competition. The name of the competition says it all: its goal is for high school students to build a satellite the size of a standard beverage can.

The four boys with their mentor. From left to right: Tobias Schüttler (their mentor), Florian Obereisenbuchner (PR/Data Processing), David Kulla (Aerodynamics/CanSat Design), Benjamin Scharlemann (Engineering/Programming) and Felix Albrecht (Creative Director / Radio Communication.

The Cantucky team came to Materialise to 3D print the satellite because it was easier to quickly get the shape they wanted, while including functionality so that the extra hardware could clip into the body.

They had a few ideas of what they wanted to include. As part of the competition, they needed to collect data on the temperature, air pressure, rotational change and speed of the satellite. They then added in a few other features they wanted to include, such as a camera to record the flight and give data on the curvature of the Earth and a GPS so that they could have information on the flight path and to know its exact position. The GPS even transferred their data back down to Earth, so that the team could have an idea of where exactly their satellite would be once it lands.

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It then went for its grand voyage on October 8th, and the team is already planning some other satellites for future competitions. Watch their video to see it in action!

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