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Ryerson has successful flight at CanSat 2014

By Megan O'Connor

Nine students from Ryerson comprise Team Tomahawk 2014

Nine students from Ryerson University comprise Team Tomahawk 2014


Nine Ryerson students went to Texas mid-June for the annual CanSat competition – joining over 60 teams from universities around the world. Ryerson team member and computer science student Peter Campeau reported on the weekend: “We are very pleased with our performance.”  Ryerson’s Team Tomahawk placed 1st in the Americas and 4th overall.

“CanSat” refers to a model satellite the size of a soda can.  The annual competition, organized by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), gives students the opportunity to take their project through a complete “life cycle”: from design to construction to launch.  

The latest mission – to develop an environmentally-powered atmospheric re-entry device and sensor payload that could sample atmospheric composition during descent – began in September 2013. Teams had strict deadlines to put designs on paper, get them reviewed, and build a working model. Finally, on the weekend of June 13-15, 2014, everyone gathered in Texas for the end stage: safety checks, rocket launch, and post-flight review.      

Judges took many criteria into account: from the original design reviews, to launch and flight performance, to telemetry (the collection of data by the payload).

This year, Ryerson’s Team Tomahawk consisted of six students from the Department of Aerospace Engineering (CanSat Structure Team Lead Nicole Belgrave, Shivang Patel, Ilion Iljazi, Vito Pansera, Alexandra Bellini, and Juan Cortes) and three students from the Department of Computer Science (CanSat Electronics and Software Team Lead Peter Campeau, Digvijay Jaswal, and Alex Helwani). Dr. Krishna Kumar, a professor of Aerospace Engineering, was their faculty advisor.

Ryerson has taken part in CanSat since 2006.  In 2013, Team Tomahawk placed third out of 30 teams competing. In 2014, 65 teams were registered from the USA, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, Egypt, Guatemala, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, and Spain.

Video footage from CanSat 2014:

Team Tomahawk’s launch 

… and descent

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