Miravalles -1 CanSat Rocket Mission: TECSpace students aim high

    By Bruce Callow

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    In today’s blog, we meet Jose Ricardo Campos Mora, a 22-year-old electromechanical engineering student at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. Jose Ricardo and his team hope to make their Miravalles – 1 mission a reality. In today’s blog we learn about the mission and how readers can support this important step in Costa Rica’s rocketry capability.

    Rocket powered flight simulation

    Miravalles – 1  is a project from the student group TECSpace that seeks to develop a CanSat Rocket Launcher and the infrastructure needed for its development and operation. CanSats are can-sized satellites that are used mostly for educational purposes because they allow students to design and operate prototype satellites that contain all the subsystems in a real satellite but at a really affordable price and without all the technical expertise required for developing a real satellite certified for flight.

    Members of TECSpace´s rocketry section at rocket motor test firing in 2019

    In many countries around the world, competitions are held for students to participate with their own CanSat designs and have the opportunity to fly them on rockets, creating an enormous value in STEM education and career development for the students participating. The Miravalles – 1 team wants to bring this opportunity to students in Costa Rica, to achieve this goal they first need to develop the rocket system. The rocket design is powered by a solid rocket motor, a fiberglass fuselage body structure, and a mechanism that allows the opening of payload bay doors to allow the ejection of the CanSats at the determined altitude. In terms of infrastructure, a launch rail for the rocket, static test firing bench for the motors, and an ignition box controller.

    Ejection mechanismo for CanSat type payloads

    The project goes beyond the development of a single rocket; it’s the first step towards the ultimate goal that a rocket developed and launched from Costa Rica reaches the Karman Line. In a more concrete way, the project has the following objectives: Develop the infrastructure needed for high power rocket launches, generate the capability of launching CanSat type payloads to 1 km altitude, encourage the commercialization of rocketry in Costa Rica., create talent and human workforce for the development of rocket launch missions.

    In order to make this vision a reality, the team needs help funding the project, for that they created the following campaign:

    Bruce Callow

    Bruce Callow is a Canadian teacher and co-author of the book To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA. He does space education outreach work on behalf of NASA.

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