We were challenged with designing, testing and building a miniature satellite to fit within the constraints of a regular soft drink can. We were given the primary mission, which stated that our design had to measure air pressure and ambient temperature and had to develop a secondary mission to investigate or create anything we wanted. We chose to use a wide range of electronic components such as a methane gas sensor, magnetometer, humidity sensor and a GPS module to be able to determine whether volcanoes are active or not, and extended this to volcanic activity on other planets. Our chosen mission is highly relevant, primarily due to the great strides that are being made to develop civilisation on Mars. Aptly, we named ourselves Volcanic!
As part of the design process, we expected to face some issues, but we couldn't have predicted the barrage of problems we would have to overcome. Despite this, we were able to produce a finished product to launch.
Once we had coded, designed, and manufactured our creation, it was time for the launch. We were given the amazing opportunity to go all the way to York to witness our hard work being launched 450m into the sky. We all agreed that it was a fantastic learning opportunity, and the launch went as expected—the parachute worked perfectly, and our components were safely recovered. We now have important and exciting data to analyse as part of our final report write-up.
We immensely enjoyed the whole competition, run jointly by the European Space Agency and Esero-UK. The experience allowed us to develop our time and project management skills, learn how to work effectively in a team, and get a feel for project work in STEM related careers, for example by talking to engineers from Raptor Aerospace. We are looking forward to doing it all again in the coming year.
Article by Volcanic