A good start for the Valmiera youth team at an international satellite competition

29. June, 2022

RoboQuick team (Rolands Brēža, Dāvis Krasts, Rūta Vildere, Matīss Gundars Melderis and Pauls Odins Šmits) from Valmiera Pārgauja State Gymnasium supported by AS VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA had a successful start at an international space industry competition with their own satellite device which has our glass fibre integrated in its body.

The young team members told us: ‘In the morning of 20 June we departed from Rīga Airport heading for Italy to participate in the international CanSat 2022 competition held by the European Space Agency. In the competition, the team had to use a satellite the size of a soft drinks can designed and built by them to accomplish the main mission set for them, i.e. to compare change of air pressure depending on height, and their own secondary mission. RoboQuick chose to measure air quality and pollution level especially focusing on pollen concentrations at different heights. We think this kind of research is very relevant because the number of people suffering from all kinds of pollen allergies is growing in Latvia and all over the world.

The international competition took place in the small Italian town Castel San Pietro Terme near Bologna. The competition lasted five exciting days packed with events beginning with team presentations at the opening ceremony, technical inspection of satellites and ‘drop tests’ (dropping a satellite from a drone to test its parachute speed) followed by the main event – launching satellites using a Sierrafox DCLV rocket to deliver the satellites to about 1000 m height and drop them down from there. The Latvian satellite was launched together with the satellite made by the Lithuanian team. Both the flight and grounding stages were successful, and our team had no problem getting their device back safely. During the flight, almost all data were received by the base station and written onto an SD card. The team had a busy night analysing data and preparing their final presentation of their satellite mission and its results, so they hardly noticed the final day arrive – the competition closing and awards ceremony. 

YesWeCan team from Switzerland won the first CanSat prize. Although this time RoboQuick did not get any awards, the competition was very exciting and gave the team invaluable experience working together and sharing responsibilities, setting goals and finding and improving technical solutions. They also had a fantastic time meeting and getting to know kindred spirits from all over Europe and being inspired by the judges and other competition staff. The information, knowledge and experience they acquired there, will be equally useful for other competitions and their future careers. 

We would like to thank AS VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA for the glass fibre which reinforced the body of our satellite and for the T-shirts and water bottles which came in very handy in the extreme heat.’

We at AS VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA are very proud and happy for these curious and entrepreneurial young people who designed and built their own can-sized satellite and competed for the top spot among 23 countries.