DARE has been the main rocket supplier for the annual Dutch CanSat competition since its conception in 2007 up until it discontinued in 2014. This competition was organized by the TU Delft as an outreach to Dutch secondary schools. Teams of 15-16 year old pupils compete to build the best CanSat. A CanSat is a small satellite built in a soda can, a perfect tool to learn pupils about space technology and gain their interest to pursue a study in technology. Starting this year, ESERO is organizing a newly styled CanSat competition, and once more DARE is the main rocket supplier.
Since the beginning, DARE has been improving its CanSat Launcher to better suit the growing competition needs. Experience in the logistics and operations of the launch campaigns has resulted in very successful launches of more than 30 CanSats up till now. Learning from past experiences DARE has grown to be a professional and reliable partner in the organization of this competition.
The CanSat Laucher can carry several CanSats at once to an altitude of about one kilometer. At its highest point the rocket releases the CanSats. While gliding down using their own parachute they will perform their specific missions. In the meantime the launcher will eject its parachute as well, gliding gently down to be reused. A modular design has enabled the final assembly of the launcher to its motor section just before launch. Furthermore, all ejection and release mechanisms are mechanically operated. This makes the launchers safe in operation and accessible for the pupils to insert their own CanSats, enhancing the experience.
Currently the CanSat Launcher has reached its seventh main revision, dubbed the CanSatLauncer (CSL) V7, is the latest addition to the CanSat launcher family and a new step forward. It was first developed in 2013 as a prototype and is able to carry up to 4 CanSat’s to an apogee of 1 kilometer. A major difference with its predecessors is that it mainly uses aluminum as a structural material. In addition various innovative manufacturing methods are used like 3D printing.
Between 2005 and 2006 DARE started the development of its own CanSat Launcher. This resulted in three prototypes: CSL v1, CSL v2 & CSL v3. After the succesfull launch of the third prototype development started on the first production model, the CSL v4, for the pilot CanSat Competition held in 2007. A year later the competition went national and needed an improved model, the CSL v5. This rocket incorporated all the experience and lessons learned during the previous versions. As a result the rocket was very reliable and easy to use. After the CanSat competition discontinued temporarily, DARE has still been working with the CanSat V7 for several other projects within DARE like ACT or our new parachute gas-powered ejection.