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UNH Places First in the International CanSat Competition

By Debra Williams, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
June 25, 2008

UNH electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering seniors ventured to the southwest desert of Amarillo, Texas, to test and launch their satellite during the 2008 CanSat Competition. Pictured (from left to right) are: Chris Famalore, Patrick Lee, Jeff Kite, Melissa Minuti, Chris Hill, Dave Levine, Ryan Carney, May-Win Thein, Rob Terry, John Eric Arlington, Zac Kelton, and Jim Gealy.

Three, two, one ... Amarillo, we have lift-off! The UNH’s WildCatSat not only had lift-off, it placed first in the 2008 Annual CanSat Competition in Amarillo, Texas, June 13-15.

The WildCatSat CanSat Team, comprised of UNH students, designed, built, and tested a can-sized satellite and then competed against various universities from the United States and Mexico during the annual CanSat competition. CanSat is a competition organized and sponsored by the American Astronautical Society (AAS), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Orbital Sciences Corporation, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

WildCatSat, a senior project and a newly recognized UNH student organization, is a multidisciplinary team consisting of electrical and mechanical engineering students interested in space-related engineering. The project provided participants project management skills and hands-on experience in the complete life-cycle of a complex engineering project.

Student teams won prize money by building small can-sized devices that were launched and deployed from a rocket at an altitude of about 760 meters. Teams scored points were for control of the descent rate, landing orientation, and post-landing operations such as making panoramic images. UNH was the only team to successfully pass all mission requirements. The judging, however, was not just based on the launch; it also scored preliminary design report, concept definition report, and the post-mission presentation.

Faculty advisor and associate professor of mechanical engineering May-Win Thein said, “UNH impressed all the judges, especially for being a first-year team. In fact, I would not be surprised if we heard from the different organizations that were represented there for recruiting purposes. I am very proud of our UNH students -- of their technical merit, presentation skills, and the professional manner with which they represented UNH.”

The 2007-2008 UNH WildCatSat team members are: electrical and computer engineering students Rob Terry (team leader), Jim Gealy, Zac Kelton , Jeff Kite, Patrick Lee, Dave Levine; mechanical engineering students Ryan Carney, Chris Famalore, Chris Hill, Melissa Minuti; faculty advisor May-Win Thein, technical advisor John Eric Arlington of Orbital Sciences and a 2001 graduate of UNH mechanical engineering, and technical advisor Marc Lessard of the UNH Space Science Center.

The CanSat Competition web site can be found at www.cansatcompetition.com.




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