Two student teams from the University of Alabama in Huntsville finished third and seventh in a global competition to create space systems.
Called CanSat, the annual competition is the World Cup of college aerospace wonks. At this year’s event, held in mid-June in Burkett, Texas, UAH’s Team Wind Charger won third place, while Team Blackout took seventh place.
UAH was the leading U.S. contender, besting 13 other U.S. college and university teams. More than 30 international teams outside the U.S. also participated in the competition.
The UAH CanSat teams are primarily composed of freshman and sophomore engineering and science students at the university as part of UAH’s Space Hardware Club. The teams faced competition from senior design students at most other colleges and universities entered at CanSat.
“We started out as a group of freshman and sophomores and we beat out teams who were composed of seniors and grad students, ” said Evan Tingley, who led Team Wind Charger. “I feel very indebted to the older members of Space Hardware Club for steering the team in the right direction and helping us fix problems when we made wrong decisions.
“Being first from the U.S. doesn’t mean as much to me personally as being third in the world, ” Tingley said. “We got to compete against the whole world and got to show what UAH’s undergraduates can do.”
Teams must be able to design and build a space-type system, following the approved competition guide, and then compete against each other at the end of two semesters to determine the winners. Rockets are provided but teams are responsible for funding the construction of their CanSat and all travel and lodging expenses. CanSat at UAH is funded and supported by the Alabama Space Grant Consortium, the UAH College of Engineering, Student Government Association and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.
Text by Dave Helms