The existence of the “Gheorghe Banciulescu” Aerodrome in Strejnic generated the opportunity that the Prahova County was also with the support of the “Elie Radu” Technical College of Ploiesti, the host of the final of the national contest for creating a satellite, in April, 2017. The event was organized by the European Space Education Resource Office – Romania (ESERO), a project founded by the European Space Agency (ESA) in partnership with the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA).
According to a press release issued by the Romanian Space Agency, seven teams of students from different high schools and children palaces in Romania competed by creating a satellite in the final of the national contest CanSat 2017, held in Prahova between April 19 and 23, 2017. The event was organized by ESERO Romania and took place on the “Gheorghe Banciulescu” Aerodrome and at the “Elie Radu” Technical College of Ploiesti.
The CanSat 2017 competition was organized by ESERO Romania, a project of the European Space Agency (ESA) in partnership with the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), this edition being organized with the support of the Prahova County School inspectorate and of the Superior School of Civil Aviation. “CanSat is a simulation of a satellite embodied in the volume and shape of a standard dose of soft drink, the challenge for students consisting in including all the major subsystems of a satellite – such as electricity and communications – in a dose of soft drink with a volume of 330 milliliters. CanSat will be launched at an altitude of approx. one kilometer, it will have to perform a mission and land safely” was mentioned in the press release. In this year’s edition, the selected projects were launched using a helicopter; the launching campaign will take place on the “Gheorghe Banciulescu” Aerodrome in Strejnic, close to Ploiesti. Before the launch, the CanSat prepared by each team was subject of a technical inspection, a check that will decide if it meets the requirements for size, weight, radio communications and parachute; the winner team of the national competition will qualify directly in the finals of the CanSat 2017 European Competition, organized by the European Space Agency, which will be held late in this June.
We mention that the first CanSat competition was held in 1999 in USA, being followed by many other national and international competitions. In Romania, the first edition was held in 2015. CanSat competitions provide students with the opportunity to have a first experience related to a real space mission, starting with designing and integrating systems, and continuing with testing, launching, analyzing data, presenting results, etc. The activity is also an excellent platform to develop technical skills of scientific research, technical design, analysis and presenting data, teamwork, as well as practical skills – making electronic circuits, programing, testing.
We mention that the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) is a public institution entirely financed from its own income. It develops the National Space Program and coordinates its implementation through research projects and space applications, being authorized to establish research and development centers. The Agency is also the leading organization of the STAR Research, Development and Innovation Program –Space Technology and Advanced Research. ROSA represents the Romanian Government in international cooperation programs, such as the ones with the European Space Agency (ESA0 or with the United Nations (UN). The Agency also develops its own scientific research and development projects through ROSA Research Centre. Since 2004, the agency is led by a President, Physician Marius-Ioan Piso, PhD.
As for the European Space Education Resource Office – Romania (ESERO), it is a project established by the European Space Agency (ESA) in partnership with the Romanian Space Agency, aiming to use the fascination of the space field to encourage teaching and learning STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in the Romanian primary and secondary schools. Through this center, ROSA and ESA wish to meet the specific educational requirements from Romania, so that the young generations will be encouraged to a STEM career.