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Student launch competition lifts-off at Machrihanish Airbase

Updated: Aug 2

This week saw the introduction of a new annual event, Mach-21 CanSat Competition and Space Careers Conference.


The event was designed to give university students hands on electrical and mechanical engineering skills, whilst introducing them to careers and opportunities in the UK space industry. It was organised by Discover Space UK, a joint venture between UKLSL and the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC), with funding from Argyll and Bute Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


11 university teams from across the UK attended the event from the 14-16th July 2021, with a CanSat that they had built over the academic year. A CanSat is a satellite within the dimensions of a soft drinks can, and the event saw two sizes of this for the student teams to select from. Teams had the option of entering two categories of CanSat, the first being a Peake CanSat, named after British Astronaut Tim Peake. This had the task of measuring temperature, pressure and altitude. The second category, a Sharman CanSat, named after the first British Astronaut, Helen Sharman, was open to innovations for different scientific achievements to be made.


The teams launched their CanSats on rockets built by Gravitilab Aerospace Services and all were successfully retrieved. The winners of the event were as seen below:


1st place - The University of Edinburgh

2nd place - The Open University

3rd place - The University of Nottingham

Most ambitious design (that worked!) - Kingston University

Most creative design - Imperial College London

Safety champions - The University of Southampton

Presentation professionals - The University of Warwick


The final day of the event was a space careers conference, with speakers ranging across the UK space industry giving students information about careers in the sector.


Overall, the event went very smoothly and we're looking forward to more event in 2022. Well done to all of the teams that took part - we look forward to seeing you next year!


Watch this space!

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