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Cansat with Arduino

Thank to Arduino, you can program your CanSat with C.


Other solution CanSat Python with Raspberry-Pi PICO

What is CanSat?

CanSat Contest simulates the fly of miniaturized satellites named CanSat (Can Satellite).

The CanSat is an autonomous devices enclosed within the volume of a soda can.

The volume of a CanSat has the following characteristics: 66mm diameter, 115mm height for a mass of 350gr.

As the CanSat have small volume and are very affordable, the CanSat contest is great for learning more about space technologies.

The CanSats are deployed from a rocket (the launch vehicle) at a height of about 3000m depending on the competition (see all the details in the contest rules).

The CanSats are not orbited and are always deployed in the athmosphere. So they always comes back to the earth.

The CanSat volume cannot increase until the CanSat is deployed out of the rocket.

This means that external antenna is allowed only after the CanSat left the rocket.

A parachute (that increase the volume of the CanSat) is usually used to limit damages. The aim is to reuse the CanSat for several missions.

In Europe, the CanSat contest includes two missions:

  • Mission 1: mesure pressure and temperature and transmit data in real time.
  • Mission 2: free choice mission (using Intertial Measurement Unit, GPS, MPX differential pressure sensor, etc).

Getting Started

Hardware discovery

Discover the various items included within the kit.

Arduino IDE

Prepare your Arduino IDE environment

Feather User Guide

The Feather M0 Express user guide for Arduino IDE.

Forcing Flash Mode

Useful tip to know.

M0 Sketch tips

Tips and tricks to write sketch for the M0.

Using SPI Flash

Programing advice to work with integrated SPI Flash.


The Feather M0 Express can also been used used with CircuitPython, a Flavor of MicroPython. It's means that you can also write Python script on this microcontroler. This point is not covered in this tutorial series.

You may learn more from Adafruit Industries (or this translation).

Test the devices

BMP280 sensor

Test the BMP280 pressure and elevation sensor.

TMP36 sensor

Test the TMP36 analog temperature sensor

RFM69HCW radio

User guide for the RFM69HCW radio module.

RFM69HCW Testing

Testing the communication with RFM69HCW and sending data through the radio module.

Radio Antenna

A well designed Antenna can increase the communication distance.


Using the NeoPixel LED available on the board.


Mission 1

The team must build a CanSat and program it to accomplish the primary (madatory) mission, as follows:

After release and during descent,

  • the CanSat shall measure several parameters,
  • the data shoudld be transmitted as telemetry information to the ground station.
  • the telemetry should, at least, be send once every second.

The following informations should be captured:

  • Air temperature
  • Air pressure

It must be possible for the team to analyse the data obtained (for example, make a calculation of altitude) and display it in graphs (for example, altitude vs. time and temperature vs. altitude).

So, don't forget to also capture the time for each data collected. This information is as critical than pressure and temperature

Frequency Plan

Be courteous, share the radio bandwidth.

Mission 1: Emitter

Wiring sensors, capturing datas and sending over radio.

Mission 1: Receiver

Receiving the transmitted data.

Mission 1: Going autonomous

Receiving the transmitted data.



CanSat 3D

CanSat 3D models to print your own one

Radio Antenna

A well designed Antenna can increase the communication distance.


Some reference to design the parachute


Need to refill some parts?


Optional: Adding a GPS module to transmit the CanSat position with the telemetry data would ease to positioning when back on the earth.

Other resources:

How to subscribe the contest?

In Europe, the CanSat competition is promoted by the ESA (source).

About this Wiki

MC Hobby does promote, mainly in French, the Arduino Open-Source plateform, MicroPython, Raspberry-Pi, coding, electronics to made knowledge freely available de the mass.

This CanSat Belgium Wiki is one of the MC Hobby documentation project partially funded by Innoviris.


MCHobby investit du temps et de l'argent dans la réalisation de traduction et/ou documentation. C'est un travail long et fastidieux réalisé dans l'esprit Open-Source... donc gratuit et librement accessible.
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