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Southampton University CanSat Competition

Air operations, Announcement

Rocket powered initiatives to champion young engineers

August 5, 2021

Cirium sponsored the winning team at this year’s Mach-21 and UK University CanSat Competition, and other initiatives to support Southampton University.

We’re proud to share the news that the brilliant team of students at Southampton University, sponsored by Cirium, won the ‘Safety Champions’ award for their rocket design in the Mach-21 CanSat Competition hosted at Machrihanish airbase in July. 

This comes hot on the heels of the team’s first victory – a spectacular winning performance at the UK University CanSat Competition in February this year.

A CanSat is a coke can-sized satellite that is launched within a small rocket to a height of several hundred metres (around 400m for Mach-21). CanSats do not leave the atmosphere but are designed to test space technologies and collect sensor information whilst descending to the surface using a recovery system (usually a parachute). CanSat competitions set young engineers the epic challenge to design, build and launch an electronics payload within a cylindrical container to a specific set of requirements. Our winning team (team leader Adrian Kraft, 4th year student of Electronic Engineering with Industrial Studies, Oli Perez, Harry Snell, Nicholas Horsman, Thomas Cross and Harry Hancock) impressed the judges on all counts, scoring top marks for meeting safety, planning, survivability, collected data and innovation requirements – assessed both before and after the rocket launch.

“Supporting long-term relationships between Cirium and Universities is a key element of our innovation and Corporate and Social Responsibility strategy, and since meeting Adrian and the CanSat team following their pitch for sponsorship last year, I have been impressed with their work ethic and technical ability, and I hope their winning example is an inspiration to others.”

Alex Brooker – Senior Director, Strategy, Cirium

This event is the latest sponsorship venture in the Southampton-based Cirium team’s long-standing relationship with Southampton University.  The team also regularly sponsors summer hackathon competitions for student coders, along with an annual internship programme which has been running for over a decade. We’re thrilled to say we’ve hired many of our student interns who have gone on to enjoy highly successful careers at Cirium.

We are particularly passionate about championing CanSat competitions because they offer a valuable opportunity for students of electronic engineering and aeronautical and astronautical engineering and industrial studies to get a feel for project work in an engineering related career. It allows them to develop their time and project management skills and learn how to work effectively in a team.

As NOTAMs data (time sensitive notices to aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight) is one of our industry-leading data solutions, we were not only excited to cheer on our team in the CanSat competitions but also to see the rocket launch event recorded in our Laminar Data Hub NOTAM feed.

The rocket launch generated two NOTAMs: ‘model rocket firing’ and ‘no general aviation to arrive at the aerodrome.’

We’re also pleased to report that innovations in drone technology are accelerating at pace. While R&D budgets have been cut in many sectors of aviation during the past 16 months, projects for drones, or UTM, are continuing – and we’re receiving strong levels of interest and enquiries from new clients.


To discover more about our NOTAMs data solution or CSR initiatives, contact us here.

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