Student scientists achieve sky-high goals

Team Astral from Utarakhand’s University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, first place winner at CanSat, a global aerospace competition, held last month in Stephenville, Texas.

STEPHENVILLE, Texas —

Student teams from two Indian universities won top prizes at CanSat, the global aerospace competition, held last month in Stephenville, Texas. Students from Uttarakhand's University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, competing as Team Astral, won first place, while second place went to the team known as SEDS VIT, of the Vellore Institute of Technology in Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

Forty teams from around the world competed in the annual design-build-fly competition organized by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). According to the CanSat website, competitors in the finals included Princeton University, University of Manchester, University of Alabama, and the National Aviation Academy. CanSat tests students' analytical, creative, decision-making, problem-solving and collaborative skills as well as domain knowledge and expertise. To complete the project, students make use of unique skills from different disciplines.

Team Astral was guided by professor Ugur Guven of the UPES Aerospace Department and Advisory Council Member at UN Center for Space Science and Space Technology Education in Asia Pacific and professor Zozimus Labana.

According to a UPES press release, the team was supported by the UPES School of Design Studies. The school assisted the team in designing and creating a payload that included a re-entry container that simulates the process of a science probe that collects data while traveling through a planet’s atmosphere. The team has competed in CanSat since 2013 and this year’s first-place ranking came with an overall score of 96.32 percent.

Team SEDS VIT won second place with an overall score of 90.69 percent for its solar-powered sensor payload that traveled through a planetary atmosphere sampling the atmospheric composition during flight.

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