Providing Capabilities for the UK CanSat Competition 2021-2022



Discover Space UK (DSUK) is a UK spaceflight services and launch campaign operator, providing training, outreach, and live launch experiences. With expertise in working with small-scale satellite projects, DSUK is the ideal launch service provider and facilitator for ESERO-UK’s UK CanSat Competition 2021-22.


From our experience, we can provide knowledge around the opportunities that arise through CanSat competitions, including skills gained by participating students, careers opportunities that arise through such events and outreach opportunities linking to launch events. As such, we are committed to working with STEM Learning Ltd, ESERO-UK and appropriate stakeholders to ensure a successful and impactful event, reaching a wide range of audiences.


DSUK has the knowledge, expertise, and experience to go above and beyond the tender requirements providing a full solution, an all-inclusive service with numerous additional contributions, and excellent value for money.

Mach-21 CanSat Competition

The work which will be completed is as follows:

  • Kick-Off Meeting

  • Launch Logistics

  • Numerous Launch Events

  • Training and Support 

  • Outreach Programme

Additional Offerings

  • Accessibility & Inclusion 

  • School engagement

  • Alignment with ESERO-UK Content

  • Drone Footage

  • Machrihanish Spaceport Simulation Experience

  • Programme monitoring

Additional details can be found in the proposal document.

This short and tight schedule requires excellent planning, preparation and communication. The schedule below ensures that the launch events are prepared for well in advance of launch days with margin. DSUK is confident that with our experience of project management and event organisation, the proposed schedule will be met.


Discover Space UK is a commercial launch service operator based in Scotland. The company was created to support small scale rocket launch and spaceflight operations from Machrihanish Spaceport and launch sites across the UK.


DSUK is a 50/50 joint venture between UK Launch Services Ltd (UKLSL) a launch service consultancy and system integrator, and Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC) the owner of Machrihanish Spaceport. The joint venture company was entered into following a number of years of successful collaboration between UKLSL and MACC. The company’s vision is to provide unique space access services outside of traditional orbital launch in order to complete the UK’s national spaceflight infrastructure.


Key priorities for DSUK are to leverage the social and economic benefits of spaceflight to the UK and areas around launch sites, and to increase uptake of relevant academic study and provide practical skills for the space industry. This is why DSUK has established the “Mach” series of CanSat competitions. At the 2021 Mach-21 CanSat Competition and Space Careers conference, 11 university teams saw their CanSat successfully launched from Machrihanish Spaceport. In 2022 it is planned to add a rocketry competition to the event. DSUK also work with university rocketry societies, supporting their ambitions with experienced launch operation. Having delivered their own CanSat competition, DSUK understands what is required in terms of launch site, equipment, and safety perspectives.


DSUK bring together an experienced team of engineering and outreach specialists. In addition, DSUK currently have an extensive inventory of key equipment that will be available for use at each of the CanSat launch events. This includes rockets, motors, firing system, launch pads, CanSat tools and all other relevant ground support equipment. We have a good understanding of the launch requirements and meet all criteria for the successful launch of the CanSats.


Andy Grey (Advisory) -

Andy is an experienced engineer, technical lead and advisor with over a decade in the space industry. He has delivered large critical infrastructure programmes as an industry supplier and been advisor to clients for £billion transactions. A recognised sector specialist, he acts as an independent expert to the EC’s Horizon 2020 Space SME programme. He is a Chartered Physicist and registered Prince2 Practitioner.


Adam Baker (Advisory, Safety & Technical) –

Adam has worked for almost 25 years in the space industry, and joined UKSEDS in 1990. He has been a STEM ambassador since 2010, and has worked with  primary schools in London, and taught at Cranfield, Kingston and Bristol Universities since 2011. He helped set up the AspireSpace national rocket championship in 1999 (later the the UKSEDS national rocket championship), and has a UKRA L2 certification.


Daniel Innes (Launch Operations, Safety, Technical)

Daniel is a senior project engineer with an MSc in Astronautics & Space Engineering. Over the last 3 years his activities have focussed on safety analyses and operations for 3 UK spaceports. He is a council member of the UK Rocketry Association with Level 2 certification and has full GVC drone certification. Daniel has spent time in the US launching model rockets with primary school children & assisted in the management & organisation of Mach-21 student CanSat competition.


Rosie Cane (Outreach, Project Management) -

Rosie is experienced in outreach within the UK Space Sector, winning a Rising Star Award from the British Interplanetary Society. She has a PhD in Astrobiology from The University of Edinburgh. Rosie has project management experience ranging from the organisation of student competitions to identifying and engaging with suppliers. She manages the Outreach Team at UKSEDS & volunteers as a STEM Ambassador.

Additional details of these team members can be found in the proposal document.

In addition to the team members above, DSUK understand that realistically a larger team will be required to deliver the proposed service. We have a resource pool containing skilled project engineers, programmatic staff, and advisors that we may utilise in the project as and when necessary. All staff undergo background checks, including Disclosure and Barrier Service checks, upon employment.


Please see bios of the above team in the proposal document. In addition, we will work with STEM ambassadors across the UK to provide support at in-person events.

Some examples of similar projects undertaken by DSUK are:

  • Mach-Series of Competitions at Machrihanish Airbase:
    DSUK is lead for the Mach-series of events at Machrihanish Airbase. At Mach-21 in 2021, 11 university teams’ CanSats were launched over a 3 day event. DSUK’s key responsibilities included event management and organisation, website management, engaging with teams through PDR, CDR and FRR stages, performing payload safety checks, launch location selection, event footage and live stream, drone footage, and outreach including a public lecture. Future iterations of the event will be linked with UKSEDS, utilising expertise from the National Rocketry Championship.

  • Design a Mission Patch Primary School Competition:
    DSUK led a competition for primary school students based in Argyll & Bute to design a mission patch to launch on a rocket at the Mach-21 CanSat Competition (also DSUK led), with over 130 entries in the local region. DSUK organised competition materials and reached out to local schools. As a follow-up, we marked entries and invited the winner to attend Mach-21 to see their mission patch launch.

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  • Machrihanish Spaceport | 2019 | MACC (for UKSA):
    UKLSL in collaboration with MACC (now DSUK) lead the Machrihanish Spaceport Cluster Plan (MSCP) realising the full potential of the site resulting in designing and establishing a spaceport corporation at Machrihanish Airbase, focused around activities such as small rocketry and education programmes.

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  • Small launch demonstrator:
    Following the MSCP project, as an initial activity to realising the full potential of the MACC site, DSUK performed a test launch from the site demonstrating locational and operational feasibility.

  • Space Hub Sutherland | Orbex | 2018 – Ongoing:
    UKLSL provides consortium management and system integration, specialising in safety and operations to develop the UK’s first vertical launch service from Space Hub Sutherland based on the Orbex prime launch vehicle.

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  • Machrihanish Vesna Launch | Sheffield University | Ongoing:
    The MSCP project has led to DSUK providing key support to Sheffield University for the launch of their Vesna rocket to 10km altitude from the site, alongside static engine testing facilities. DSUK are also providing support to Cambridge University for their proposed launch activities planned from the site over the following years.

  • L2 Certification Programme:
    DSUK provides an L2 certification programme where internal staff provide training internally to staff for small rocket launches. The programme provides an understanding of how to perform safe launch operations, the preparations required for launch, stable rocketry design and build, and provides trainees with the necessary information for their Level 1 and Level 2 UKRA certifications.

A budget plan is presented in the proposal document for the anticipated travel expenses, staff and non-staff costs, equipment and subsistence cost. All costs are clear and transparent, and exclusive of VAT.

Photo Gallery

Below you can see a selection of photos from the Mach-21 CanSat Event. These images include the satellite construction, CanSat development and launch site.

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Conference 2
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Edinburgh Uni Can Sat1
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MicrosoftTeams-image (4)
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Discover Space UK

Building 79 Machrihanish Airbase,



United Kingdom,

PA28 6NU