LWTC Finishes 11th at International CanSat Competition

June  29, 2010

CanSat Team

Representing LWTC at the sixth annual CanSat competition were
(left to right) Gary Piper, Team Lead, Joe Gryniuk, Launch Faculty Adviser,
and Johnny Goss, Lead Technician

A student team from Lake Washington Technical College (LWTC) finished 11th out of 18 teams at the sixth annual International CanSat Competition held June 11-13 in Amarillo, Texas.

It was LWTC's first appearance at CanSat, which is open to colleges and universities from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Among the schools competing were the universities of Michigan, Nebraska, Hawaii, Penn State and Florida Institute of Technology as well as schools from Canada, Mexico, Turkey and India. LWTC was one of only a pair of two-year schools in Amarillo joining Hawaii's Kapiolani Community College.

"Our students worked so very hard throughout the entire weekend and deserve a well earned rest and all accolades that came their way," said Joe Gryniuk an instructor in LWTC's Electronics Technology program and the team's adviser. "We were up against some very well funded teams several of which had sponsors. Our students beat the odds, completed the challenge, and finished the competition."

Gryniuk accompanied the student team of Gary Piper, Team Lead, and Johnny Goss, Lead Technician, to the competition. LWTC's Associated Student Government chapter paid for the student's trip. In all, 12 students representing a cross-section of the campus were involved for almost a year on the project, which was not part of a class, but an extracurricular activity.

The CanSat competition required the schools to meet two criteria: first, design a CanSat the approximate size of a twelve-ounce soda can. The device must transmit data to a relay balloon during an ascent to 3,000 feet and subsequent descent. Secondly, the CanSat and an accompanying hen's egg must return safely to earth. NASA provided the rockets.

LWTC passed the first part successfully as they were one of only two teams to transmit the required telemetry data to the ground control station after launch.

They encountered a problem, however, in the second phase, as 22 mph winds, with gusts to 30 mph, blew the descending CanSat off course. An exhaustive search of the area by NASA failed to find the device.

"I am very proud of the student team and their efforts," said Gryniuk. "I'd like to thank everyone for their support. It was an outstanding event and the students learned so much this past weekend."