T-Minus CanSat Kit
The T-Minus Engineering CanSat kit is primarily designed for use in the CanSat competitions in Europe. In these competitions the kit is used by the high school students as a stepping stone for building their CanSat. The components that are supplied provide an easy and quick method of creating a primary mission. This mission consists out of the measurement of pressure and temperature and the transmission of this data. A user manual is provided with the kit explaining the components, the building of the primary mission and methods to extend towards secondary missions.
The components of the kit are:
- A main board
- Primary mission sensors
- Experiment board
- Telemetry system
- Basic mechanical structure
- CanSat kit manual
The Main board
The heart of the CanSat kit is formed by the microcontroller on the main board. The main board provides all the connections and interfaces required to operate the microcontroller, like power supply, USB communication and programming interface. The main board has 3 20-pins connectors for connecting external components to the micro controller (for instance the sensors and transmitter provided with the kit). The power supply of the main board also supplies power at these connectors. The form factor of the board is chosen such that the board fits both horizontal and vertical in the CanSat, allowing the CanSat teams for a flexible CanSat design.
Primary mission sensors
Included in the CanSat kit are three analog sensors: two for temperature and one for pressure. The analog output of these sensors can be digitalized with the analog-to-digital converters (ADC’s) of the microcontroller. The sensors can be mounted on the experiment shield that is provided with the kit. The two temperature sensors provided convert the temperature to analogue values using different methods. This is used to show the difference between linear and nonlinear sensors.
An experiment boar d is provided with the kit with the same form factor as the main board. The holes on the experiment board are all placed on a pitch of 2.54mm, providing a simple method of connecting the components to the main board.
The CanSat kit comes with both a transmitter and a receiver in order to provide a downlink function. They work in the 433 MHz band, so that no license is required for operating them. The receiver can simply be connected to a USB port of a computer, so that the data transmitted by the CanSat can be gathered by a terminal program, and stored for further analysis. The CanSat kit manual provides information on creating a high gain antenna suitable for the ground station of a CanSat.
Basic mechanical structure
The structure provided with the kit allows for the components to be placed in a CanSat and has a mounting point for a parachute.