Space Science has not gained much prominence in Ghana.
Owing to this, the Ghana CanSat Rocketry Championship has been launched in Senior High Schools to help students build and learn experimental satellites.
The campaign is expected to lead to massive improvement in the gains and awareness of Space Science in Ghana.
A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a soft drinks can.
The CanSat Ghana Elementary Campaign (or Ghana CanSat Rocketry Championship) is a competition that will involve the complete process of an actual Space mission.
The competition will assemble some schools in the Ashanti region, Upper East, and Eastern regions to develop a CanSat model.
The challenge for the students is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors, and a communication system.
The participating student teams will experience all the phases of a real space project, from selecting the mission objectives, designing their CanSat, integrating the components, testing the system, preparing for launch, and analyzing the scientific data obtained.
The challenge aims to use Space technology and techniques to address the Sustainable Development Goal.
Project Coordinator for CanSat Ghana, Jake Yawson, identified knowledge gap in space science and technology.
He believes the competition will equip students with practical knowledge and rekindles their interest to pursue space science-related courses.
“We seek to do is to impact space science and astronomy amongst students to develop their understanding of engineering to facilitate STEM education in Ghana. We noticed that currently in our curriculum we are not getting exposed to some of these handy things.
“To sort of bring that light to the SHS level, we started this at the university level but we are seeing that to bring the zeal and enthusiasm to pursue some programs like this in the university, it is beneficial that we give them also the technical skill to be able to design some of these things on their own,” he said.
Technical officer for CanSat Ghana, Eric Obeng indicated that the competition will facilitate the efforts to promote STEM among the youth.
“The mission is to train the students on how to develop a miniature satellite. Students will be taught things like coding, electronics, space science, physics, mathematics, and all this. There is a movement to promote STEM in our country and as part of these activities, STEM will be promoted and the right applications.
“The electronics that we will be teaching, the programming, we are going to attack from the first principle. That means that not only can it be applied to the concert, but it can be used in sectors like agriculture, health, and anything that requires technology,” he said.
Participants shared their eagerness to equip themselves to win the first edition of the competition.
“Initially, we thought Satellites are those huge machines launched to space but, upon our engagement with CanSat we have come to know that, space machines can be as little as a can.
“We are very hopeful to win the competition. It is an interesting topic to learn about, and winning it would be an amazing thing,” some students shared.
The CanSat Ghana Elementary Campaign is led by Xavier Space Solutions (a Space & satellite start-up in Ghana.
The final event of the competition is slated for October 2023.