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CanSat: Hands-on Satellite Design

Winter school: January 6th to 31st, 2020

Course price: 2,300 Euros

18 hours of class sessions per week, 5 ECTS credit points, max. 20 participants

Rocket Launch Day
Rocket Launch Day


Space Technology

Target group

This course is designed for students with a general understanding of engineering who want to gain insight into the exciting topic of space technologies. With the practical approach applied, students experience working on a challenging project in an interdisciplinary team. This prepares them for a systems engineering career with a leading position in the engineering industry. With the basic knowledge in space technologies that is imparted in this course, students have a good starting point to prepare themselves for a continuing education in space engineering. It is recommended that students use their own laptops for the hands-on project.

Learning Goal/Output

After taking part in this course, students will have knowledge of the most important topics related to space technologies. Students will know the parts of a space system and understand their correlations, and will be able to plan and conduct a space mission. Practically, students will be capable of designing a part of a space system with regard to mechanics, electronics and programming.

Course Components

The course starts with introductory lectures about the most important topics related to space technologies. In parallel, a practical training will be given to develop specific engineering skills in mechanics, electronics and programming that are necessary to conduct the hands-on project. During project work units, parts of a CanSat will be designed with supervision in smaller groups. During a launch campaign, the CanSat will be tested under real conditions. The course is supplemented by an excursion to space related companies and institutions in Berlin.

Short Description

A CanSat is a small satellite in shape of a commercial beverage can that performs several measuring tasks. In this course, a CanSat is designed, built and tested in the field during a rocket launch. Therefore, all basics of topics related to exciting area of space technologies is imparted and practical skills for the development of a CanSat are trained. The theoretical units are supplemented by practical exercises. Parts of the CanSat are developed in intensely supervised small groups. During an excursion to a site in Berlin where space related companies and institutions are located, the participants shall gain insight into facilities used for the development of satellites.


The general prerequisites of the TU Berlin Summer University are: at least one year of university experience + English level B2 or equivalent. Participants should have a general understanding of engineering. 


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Brieß is head of the Chair of Space Technology at TU Berlin’s Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has dealt extensively with nano and pico satellite technologies and their various uses for the communication and remote sensing of the Earth, Moon and planets.

After studying Information Technology at Technical University of Ilmenau, he was a scientific assistant at the university of Ilmenau. Since 1989 he has gained working experience in the field of space technology, including: engineering and research work at German Aerospace Center DLR, camera design for the Russian Mars-96 mission and other space imagers, extension studies in satellite communication (USA) and at the International Space University, system engineer in different space projects and proposals for Earth remote sensing or planetary exploration. Since 2003, he is a full professor at TU Berlin,

Pertinent activities: member of International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), head of the section "Space Technology " of the German Aerospace Society "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt Lilienthal-Oberth e.V.", member of “Gesellschaft zur Förderung des akademischen Nachwuchses”, co-founder of the “Space Initiative Berlin-Brandenburg (RIBB)”, and others , more than 130 international publications

Cem Avsar graduated in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin in 2010. During his studies at TU Berlin, he was teaching informatics for eight semesters as tutor. Also, he participated in practical space related projects during his time of studies. With his graduation, he joined the staff of scientific researchers at the TU Berlin, Chair of Space Technology. He worked on modular satellite architectures and CubeSats. As Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Brieß‘ teaching assistant, he was strongly involved in shaping the space technology curriculum. He also managed research projects, for instance a student-built rover. His projects enclosure the direct involvement of students in hands-on lecture courses. To date, he has lectured numerous space technology related courses, e.g. Satellite Technology, Aerospace Electronics, Aerospace System Design, Space Robotics and many more. He constantly edeavours to apply modern approaches of practical engineering teaching methods. Today, he is managing director of the Berlin-based space company beSpace.

Nikolas Korn graduated in Aerospace Engineering from TU Berlin in 2014. During his studies, he was working at GEA Grasso on 3D CAD modeling of screw compressor parts. Later he joined the PiNaSys as researcher. There he is focused on hardware and software development of miniaturized attitude determination systems for parabolic flight experiments as well as GPS orbit simulations. In April 2015 he participated on the 25. DLR parabolic flight campaign in Bordeaux, France.

Manuel Ortega Varela de Seijas
Manuel Ortega Varela de Seijas graduated in Aerospace engineering from TU Delft and in Space engineering from TU Berlin. He has a minor in mechanical engineering from UPMC in Paris, and developed an additive manufacturing machine for metals with EPFL (Switzerland). He has worked on systems engineering and project management for the Paris Observatory Meteorix mission, ESA’s OPS-SAT mission and Berlin Space Technologies GmbH. Today, he is assisting the MSE team in the administration and organization of the Master of Space Engineering (MSE) program at TU Berlin and giving the lecture of Human Spaceflight. In parallel, he pursues his Ph.D. focusing on the development and integration of key additive manufacturing process for spacecraft manufacturing.

Please direct questions about the course to the TU Berlin Summer University Team at: . We will answer your questions and direct specific queries regarding course content to the course lecturers where necessary. 



Schedule and Syllabus

Here is the CanSat Course Schedule for winter 2020

The "Berlin/Culture" time slots are reserved for the cultural activities included in the tuition fee, as well as for the additional tours and trips that we offer.

These activities are of course completely optional, should you want to use the time to explore the city by yourself, catch up on homework or relax. You may find the syllabus useful when discussing with your home University whether the ECTS credits attainable for this course are accepted by them.

Winter school: January 6th to 31st, 2020

Course price: 2,300 Euros

18 hours of class sessions per week, 5 ECTS credit points

Zusatzinformationen / Extras

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Beth Sibly, Director
+49 30 4472 0230