Anne, Esther, Iris, Jessica, Malou, Mirthe and Sophie from Assen, also known as the Spacegirls, have won the national space competition for high school students, called CanSat. ASTRON sponsored the seven girls, who are also the only all-girls team (including two twins!) participating in the competition.
Published by the editorial team, 8 July 2009
In this competition, organised by the Technical University Delft and space agency ISIS (Innovative Solutions In Space), teams from high schools from all over the Netherlands had to make satellites out of a soda can. This satellite, or ‘CanSat’, had to perform two missions: the CanSat had to determine its height during its flight and it had to land safely.
On Friday 15 May, the CanSat semi finals took place in ‘t Harde on a military practice terrain. Twenty schools competed against each other with their homemade ‘satellites’ the size of a soda can. They competed for only six places in the finals. The winners of the finals were allowed to place their CanSat in a rocket built by students of TU Delft.
During the semi finals, the CanSat of the Spacegirls was thrown down from seventy meters high. The flight was executed successfully and the girls were able to perform the first mission, which was to measure the pressure and temperature.
For the second mission, the girls chose to aim this at safety, and designed an airbag. During the descent, the CanSat inflated the airbag successfully and landed safely on the ground.
The girls’ CanSat made quite an impression on the jury and they were selected for the finals! This took place on 5 June, on which the CanSat was launched into the sky until one kilometer high! During this launch, the airbag worked again and the CanSat was able to come down safely…mission accomplished!
On 3 July, the last day of the CanSat competition, the winners were announced in Delft. All teams presented their CanSat one more time, and at the end of the day the winners were chosen. The spacegirls were very surprised with the outcome, but the jury was convinced: they worked very carefully and precisely on their CanSat and they had thought of a very special second mission.
The girls can enjoy the first prize: a ‘parabole flight’ in an airplane, during which the plane will climb and descend so strong it seems you are weightless for a while. The CanSat the girls made will also have a purpose: it will be placed on a rocket made by students from the University of Delft, and which will be launched into the sky.