Mission Accomplished: A Look at the 2024 CanSat Student Competition

The American Astronautical Society worked with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to host the Student CanSat Competition Launch Weekend in Staunton, Virginia June 6-9. After a year of planning, designing, and building their CanSats, 32 university student teams from around the world converged in middle Virginia to see their hard work take flight.

“It’s always inspiring to see these teams come together and see the results of the months of hard work they’ve put into the competition,” said Jim Way, AAS Executive Director. “I always think the challenge created by Ivan Galysh, our competition director and CanSat event founder from NRL, is going to be too difficult for the teams to accomplish. But, year after year, they exceed expectations and do an amazing job, all while having a great time!”

Image: Student teams at the 2024 CanSat Competition

Teams traveled from near and far to showcase their work with many from the United States, including three University of Alabama Huntsville teams, and others from countries like Argentina, Italy, South Korea, and more. The spirit of competition presented in a friendly manner with teams optimistically mingling during the Thursday night reception.

On Friday, the teams brought their models in front of the judges for the Preflight Readiness Review. Anticipation was building as they proved they’ve met the technical and safety requirements and size criteria.

Saturday had an early start as teams traveled to the launch site in Monterey, Virginia. Setting up to take flight in the hayfields, students scrambled to make last minute adjustments to ensure they didn’t exceed weight parameters. By noon, the exciting part of the day was starting – launch time. All teams watched as their CanSats were rocketed to over 2,000 feet and observed to see if their projects could safely return their payload eggs to the ground via aerobreaking and parachute according to the mission.

Image: A rocket launches, carrying a team’s CanSat mission project inside

Closing out the event was Sunday’s Post Flight Reviews where teams shared their data and drew conclusions from the previous day’s findings. The final program was the CanSat Closing Ceremony where teams gathered one last time to reminisce on the event and present the winners. In fifth place was the SEDS ITBA team from Argentina. Fourth place went to University of California Irvine’s Antsat. Poland’s KoNaR Can team celebrated their third place ranking. Second place was presented to University of Alabama Huntsville’s Shockwave team. And finally, in first place and the overall winner of the competition, was PWr Aerospace from Poland!

Image: The 2024 winning team, PWr Aerospace from Poland

It was an exciting weekend, and all teams brought their A game. They continue to show how impressive the next generation of aerospace is. Congratulations to all teams for their hard work and we hope to see them all compete again next year!

For this year’s full results, additional photos, and more information about the competition, please visit cansatcompetition.com.

Visit the Competition Site
Cover Image: From inside the Launch Day tent, where students rep their country flags while working on their missions.