2017 Cansat Design Competition

The Rundown

The annual Cansat competition invites universities all over the world to compete in designing and flying a deployable device that can perform certain tasks in flight. This year we will be building a rocket deployed glider to collect and transmit atmospheric data and aerial photos which will all be displayed in real time at a ground station during its flight. We will go through the full design cycle much like in a professional setting, from receiving design requirements, conducting design reviews scored by judges, performing iterations building and launching what we’ve designed and then presenting a post flight review following launch in Texas.

This year, out of 100 total applicants, the “Raven Kings” Carleton University Design Team represents one of only 3 Canadian teams (alongside Ryerson University and UTAIS) participating in the competition.

The Background

The annual CanSat Competition is an international engineering and design competition sponsored by NASA, the U.S. Naval Research Lab, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the American Astronautical Society (AAS). Last year two Carleton teams competed, one consisting of members new to the Cansat project and one with veteran members looking to improve on the previous years, 3rd place victory. Out of 79 teams, the veterans placed 2nd overall and the “rookie” team placing 10th.  This year we have combined the brightest minds of both teams and are striving to be the first Carleton team to win the Cansat competition.

The Rollout

We are looking to raise $5000 in order to build our design and take it to Texas for the competition.  The funds will go towards paying for members flight tickets as well as covering the costs of building materials (wood, foam, springs, magnets, 3D printing) and electronic hardware (antennas, pressure and temperature sensors, circuit boards, solar panels etc.)

Due to the nature of the competition, several members are required for final preparation of the deployable glider for launch and operate the ground station on “game day”. As each team member has been working hard on at least one aspect of the competition since September, we would like to have all ten team members go to the competition. This will allow everything to run smoothly by having the expert of each part of our design present, and to let each team member see all their hard work pay off.

The Benefits

The project provides exposure to a practical engineering project for current students allowing them to apply theory learned in the classroom in order to complement their education.

This will help encourage prospective students by showing the accomplishments of Carleton engineering students. By competing at the International CanSat Competition we will demonstrate the engineering and design capabilities of Carleton University while representing Canada on an international level.

Furthermore, students have a unique opportunity to mingle with fellow engineers from all over the world and speak with individuals established in the aerospace industry.

The Team

Nick Kamarianakis

Team Lead

Nick is a 5th year Aerospace engineering student at Carleton University specializing in space systems and design. Nick leads this years Cansat team engaging in both the mechanical and aerodynamics design process involved in developing the deployable glider for the mission as well as handling main administrative duties.

Michael Davidson

Aero Team Lead

Currently a fourth year Aerospace Engineering student specializing in Steam A: Aerodynamics, Propulsion and Vehicle Performance, and is returning from an 16-month internship with Pipe Integrity Technical Support at TransCanada. It is his first year participating as a member of the CanSat team, and is mainly responsible for the aerodynamic performance of the glider including airfoil selection and optimization.

Jacob Booth

Elec Team Lead

Jacob is a 3rd year Carleton University student studying Electrical Engineering. As his third consecutive year on the Cansat team, Jacob oversees the electrical design process and is heavily involved in the critical software design for the on-board electronics

Spencer Cummins

Aero Team

Spencer is an Aerospace Engineering student currently in his final year. This is his second year with Carleton CanSat and he is an active member of the Aero team. He has an interest for solving complex engineering problems and has been developing the wing deployment mechanism for our glider. He also enjoys boating and rock climbing in his free time, especially in and around his home town of West Kelowna B.C. where he spends his summers

Vanessa Lewis

Aero Team

Vanessa is in her final year of Aerospace Engineering and excited to be a part of the Carleton CanSat team this year. She is designing the canister and it’s deployment mechanism for the glider.

David Bascelli

Elec Team

David Bascelli is a third year Aerospace Electronics and Systems Engineering student. He is working on designing the payload electronics board and the low level software interfaces.

Yohanes Hailegiorgis

Aero Team

Currently a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student. It is his first year as a member of the CanSat team and is mainly responsible for designing the fuselage components

Dave Fahlman

Aero Team

Dave is a returning CanSat team member, currently working on a MSc in Electrical Engineering. He is providing guidance for the mechanical team and coordinates funding and sponsorship


PDR Complete!


The Cansat team successfully submitted and presented the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the competition judges and is currently placed 6th overall in the competition with a score of 96.23%!

Over the past few months we have constructed full working prototypes and incorporated design iterations to optimize the flight path and descent rate of the glider. We have managed to get our glider descent time to about 200 seconds (aiming for 120 seconds) and are now incorporating design iterations on the airfoil shape and tail component sizing as we ready for another round of testing by the end of this week. On the Electrical side we have designed and manufactured our first round of PCBs and begun solar panel testing an integration.

Again, we sincerely appreciate all the help we have received from our donors to date. Your contributions have greatly helped us in making our design come to life. Stay tuned for more updates on team status after the Critical Design Review next week!

For those interested links to flight testing videos can be found on the Cansat Facebook page found at: https://www.facebook.com/CarletonCanSat/



Kathy & Jack Johnson

Nancy Porteous

Wendy Portfors

Soar high team.

Sarah MacCall

Good luck!

Peter Girouard

norma lancaster

Good Luck

Anne and Trevor Hall

Chris Kamarianakis

Good luck in Texas!

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