UK’s biggest educational space competition returns to East Anglia

Posted on September 1, 2023

There are a growing number of practical competitions that UK students of all ages can take part in, but the biggest of these is the international ‘CanSat’ competition, organised by ESERO (the European Space Agency’s educational arm) and funded by the UK Space Agency.

The competition sees teams of students in the 14 to 18 year old age range build their own miniature satellite, the same size and shape as a soft drinks can, which can gather data or perform an experiment whilst it is making a brief atmospheric flight on a real rocket, then returning to earth via a parachute the students have designed and made.

This exciting competition takes place in several European countries and the UK has been taking part for a number of years with the competition growing to a record 250+ registered teams and over a thousand students directly involved in 2023. The culmination of the competition is a month long series of launch events at venues across the country where the students get to see their CanSat launched onboard a solid fuel rocket and deployed at altitude for their parachute recovery. Ben Jarvis, local space sector entrepreneur and 30 year veteran of commercial rocketry activities was involved in helping the competition gain funding for the rocket launches back in 2019 and his Norfolk based space sector education and training company ‘Launch Access Ltd’ has just announced successfully winning the bid to deliver the launch events for the competition for another year. This contract will see a total of at least thirteen launch days in March and April 2024 at six or more regional launch locations, where over a hundred rockets will be launched carrying the student’s satellites.

The 2024 competition kicks off very soon with the sign-up deadline being on the 17th of October 2023. Launch Access Ltd, being an East Anglia based company, and hosting one of the regional launch events at their home on Old Buckenham Airfield near Attleborough, are keen to encourage more local schools and colleges to take part. You can find out more about the competition at the ESERO UK website: or you can contact Launch Access Ltd for more information about what’s involved in competing in this exciting competition via email at:

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    Stuart Catchpole

    Space Cluster Manager
    New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)