National Competition started

Dear followers,

yesterday the german national CanSat competition started. Today we had to present our mission and our CanSat to the jury. In the afternoon we had time to work on our CanSats. We realy needed this time to complete our CanSat and fix some problems. At 9PM we were thrown out of the laboratory. Now we are working on the street.
Tommorow is the launch day. Much work to do till then.

Greetings from good old cold germany
on behalf of Team Gamma




Our helix-antenna is finally complete.

We chose a helix-antenna because in the previous years (german as well as european) the yagi-antennas provided by the competition didn’t work that well. This is because at certain reception angles the antenna does not receive any data at all while at other angles it receives the full amount of data. A helix-antenna on the other hand always receives data, no matter the angle, while sacrificing a bit of receival-efficiency. Helix-antennas also are a lot larger to acquire the same amount of efficiency as a yagi-antenna on average.

Our antenna for the european cansat competition last year was 140cm high, used a 69cm base reflector and was very heavy, which made carrying it to receive data pretty difficult. This year’s antenna is the same size but also notably lighter: The base reflector was made out of wood with aluminium foil wrapped around it last year, while it is made entirely out of aluminium this year, which reduces the weight a lot. In addition to this the base reflector is only 2mm thick this year while it used to be 3mm thick. This reduces the receival-efficiency by about one third, which still fulfills our requirements. In addition to this we drilled numerous, small holes into the base reflector, which reduces the weight further. These holes are smaller than the wave length, so they shouldn’t affect the receival-efficiency in a negative way.

In the next few days we’ll test our antenna at the Institute for Telecommunications and High-Frequency Techniques at the Universität Bremen, our local university, with the help of Prof. Dr. Ing. Martin Schneider.

A picture of the antenna:




Marc Huisinga on behalf of Team Gamma

CanSat 2015: Etching a circuit board

Dear followers or humans a like,

today I will update you again with some information on our next Apollo Satellite! First of all we have a video, shown is the process of etching a board for our sensors to sit on.

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Above you can see the copper plate covered with the toner which we transfered from the waxpaper onto the copper!

First we prepared copper plate with some steel wool and acetone, then the first step was to print the layout of our board on some waxpaper. The second step was to imprint the toner from the waxpaper to the copper plate prepared earlier, with the help of an hot iron. Last but not least we needed to etch the copper that is exposed – not covered with toner – away from the plate. And voilá, our board is ready to use! But to prevent it from oxidiazing and ruining in the first few days of using it in a normal humid enviroment, we covered the copper with some zink, which prevents the oxidiazing.


Here you can see the circuit board with the sensors installed. The copper lanes are on the other side, because they need to have contact with the pins from our sensors.



And here you can see the button site of the circuit board.

Till Schlechtweg on behalf of Team Gamma


CanSat 2015: Ground Station

Dear followers,

today we would like to present some of the features that our ground station software has. In addition to the hardware of the satellite we are also investing a bit of effort into the software side of things to allow for proper data analyzing. To accomplish this, we built a graphical user interface and several tools for analyzing and visualizing data.

Conceptually the ground station is the same as the ground station for the European CanSat 2014 competition. The ground station essentially receives data from the satellite, visualizes and analyzes the data in real time, logs the data and streams the data using a hotspot. The ground station also allows for several possibilities to visualize and analyze logged data. In addition to this it is possible to export the logged data into various file formats, which also allows the user to analyze the data with certain third party programs that make use of these formats.

While this year’s ground station is conceptually the same as the ground station from last year, it is actually different in lots of regards. We rewrote the entire codebase to fit our new requirements, cleaned up a lot of code, improved the user interface, implemented some new features, and, most importantly, made sure the ground station works with any kind of satellite – not just ours.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the features present in this year’s ground station:

  • Configuration of custom satellite data transmission to allow for different satellites
  • Data receival on a serial port
  • Parsing of JSON data transmission format
  • Filtering and flattening of missing data
  • Logging of received data in JSON format
  • Streaming of data on a socket server over a hotspot in JSON format for clients in surroundings
  • Real time display of the satellite path on a dynamic 3D globe
  • Real time display of received data in a table view
  • Real time display of received data in a text data stream
  • Real time display of received data in a dynamic 2D graph
  • Display of logged data in the same way data received in real time is displayed
  • Export of logged data as graph image
  • Export of logged data as .csv-tables (usable by most table editing software, like Excel or LibreOffice Calc)
  • Export of logged data as plaintext tables
  • Export of logged positional data as .kml-path (usable by Google Earth to display the path of the satellite and the received data related to each position)
  • User friendly and dynamic graphical user interface
  • Scalability in terms of data receival sources, transmission protocols, transmission formats, logging formats, configuration formats, data remoting, display components and export formats (It is extremely easy to extend the application in these regards and to add new features that fit into these areas)

The current state of progress is that pretty much every of the enumerated features is already complete, except for the graphical environment that connects all these features, which is being finished right now. The architecture of the application is largely done as well, with some parts left to be connected. The architecture is likely to be finished together with the graphical environment. After the graphical environment and the architecture are completly finished, we will start with further polishing the code base and the graphical user interface.

As we have already displayed the real time path visualization in our last post, we will show you an example path for our .kml-export. Please note that this is just an example path and example data.

Path contained by .kml-file exported by the ground station displayed in Google Earth

Path contained by .kml-file exported by the ground station displayed in Google Earth


Marc Huisinga on behalf of Team Gamma

CanSat 2015: Meeting

Dear folks of the internet,

at the moment, we are heavily focused on getting our documentation ready to give it in. That’s why for the last few weeks and the next few weeks there will be less updates than usual, but I can say that we are definitly getting forward every time… In the last Meetings, the hardware group, tested every component and now there is only one I²C Bus instead of two Serial UART Lines and one I²C Bus… we want the maximum measurerate for our new Apollo. We want to analyze every aspect and hopefully most of the meters our Satellite flies.

The Software group had some slight problems with the DNS that is provided by the School Authority, not the School itself. It didnt resolve many of our needed domains on which we store information and code, aswell as our Redmine with Timetable and Gant-Diagramm.

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These Photos are our last progress, Steffen and I tested most of the components, while Alexander with the help of Steffen again glued the Case for our CanSat. A friend of Alexander milled the bottom and top covers for our Satellite. Robin, Marc and Kevin work hard on the backend for our CanSat Applikation, in the end, Marc did work on some of the frontend parts as you can see above.


2015-04-28 09.04.15

Above you can see an early prototype for our inner wall, to the left you see a version that is a little more advanced. Down below is the newest version that is modelled by Alexander B.2352twef

Till Schlechtweg on behalf of Team Gamma

CanSat 2014: Our flight was great – for the first 400 meters

Dear followers,

as you can see on the pictures today was the launch campaign. For our flight, the fourth one today, three of our team members worked the whole night to get everything ready for launch.

We had to make the technical inspection of a NAROM member today because the satellite was not functional in the yesterday evening when the planed inspection was. Befor flight we tested our antenna, CanSat, groundstation and android application and everything works fine. The weather was great so there were no problems for the launch. Continue reading

CanSat 2014: Team Gamma on journey

Hello followers,

after a few days without a report from us we want to tell you a little bit about our jurney to Andenes. Currently we stay in an beautiful apartment in Oslo, Norway. Tomorrow we will fly from Oslo to Tromsoe to Andenes.
But the way to Oslo was a hard way for us. Bremen, our home city is around 700 kilometers southern from Oslo. We searched for flys, trains or rentable cars to overcome this distance but decided us for a ferry which connects Kiel, Germany with Oslo.
The crossing takes around 20 hours but we had a beautiful and very very small cabin for us where we could sleep perfectly to be ready for the CanSat competition. The ferry gave us the possibility to see more from Norway and its wonderful nature.

Continue reading