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Mansfield Magazine

International Student CanSat Competition Comes to Tarleton

Jun 01, 2017 03:52PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
The 13th annual American Astronautical Society (AAS) CanSat Competition takes place at Tarleton State University June 9 through 11, with 40 college and university teams from around the world vying for top honors.

Teams from the U.S., Azerbaijan, Canada, India, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom will conduct pre-flight checks Friday, June 9, before launching a payload about the size of a large soda can via a rocket designed to achieve an altitude of 650 meters (less than half a mile) the following day. The rocket’s payload, a glider that will return to the ground flying a specified path, will collect data during its descent.

“It is an honor to host the 2017 student CanSat competition on our campus,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “The competition is truly a hands-on learning experience, fostering creativity and providing opportunities to meet and learn from students, staff and faculty worldwide.”

As host for this year’s AAS CanSat contest, Tarleton’s internationally recognized aeronautical team will not compete but will conduct a large rocket demonstration for the public at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, before visiting team launches begin at 1 p.m. at Tarleton’s Agricultural Center/College Farm.

The center is located just off FM 8 (Lingleville Highway) west of U.S. Hwy. 281. The public is invited to Saturday’s events. There is no admission fee. Guests should park at the center and ride a shuttle to the launch site. Signs will direct spectators to designated parking areas off of College Farm Road (County Road 518).

The 2017 CanSat Competition simulates a science vehicle traveling through a planetary atmosphere and allows participants to experience—on a small scale—a typical aerospace program from preliminary review to post-mission debriefing.

As part of the contest, each team’s payload must carry a glider to be released from a re-entry container before landing. During the glider’s flight and descent, GPS position and telemetry must be displayed in real time on a ground control station created by the team. In addition, teams must choose and complete one of four additional contest requirements, such as measuring the force of impact or capturing video of their glider’s descent and landing.

Post-flight presentations are set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at Tarleton’s Lamar Johanson Science Building, and awards will be given at 6 p.m.

In addition to AAS, this year’s CanSat competition is sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, with financial and volunteer support from the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin.

“While our aeronautical team isn’t a competitor in the upcoming CanSat event, our students have made a name for themselves when it comes to international rocket competition,” said Dwain Mayfield, team adviser. “As host for the June event, Tarleton’s team makes us all proud.”

Tarleton’s aeronautical team was created in 2011 to compete in the international CanSat competition and has participated in a NASA-based competition every year, bringing home third-place honors in the 2016 Student Launch Centennial Challenge and winning second place in 2015.

For more information on the AAS CanSat Competition in Stephenville, call Steven Merwin, Tarleton mathematics instructor and lead faculty mentor for the aeronautical team, at 254-968-1764 or email

To learn more about the 2017 CanSat Competition, visit

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.

All content courtesy of the Tarleton Press Release.

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