Kathmandu University CanSat Initiative: User/Tutor Guide

Kathmandu University logo used without prior permission.
The CanSat rendering was downloaded through GrabCad
and was designed by Edwin Divakran Maria Selvaraj.
As I have mentioned [HERE], aligning with Prof. Maskey's interest and request in building capacity for local students to build and launch their own version of CanSats (Satellite in a Can), current and former members of the SNUSAT, the small satellite team in Seoul National University, will be joining hands in launching a series of simple video lectures aimed at helping students in Kathmandu University jump start their own CanSat project, and eventually, a competition. 

There was much confusion among my own peers here as to how I was planning to approach making the videos and what preparation Kathmandu University has done to ensure that the materials we make here, is going to be effectively utilized back in Dhulikhel, Nepal. I will, with this post, try to address some of those concerns and provide a "guide" both to tutors and users so that they can get a sense of how they should prepare for the materials that have to be presented. 

Please do understand, however, that this initiative has no direct links to CubeSat Research Center under the Aerospace Propulsion and Combustion Laboratory for whom I work for. No permission from both Professor and the lab chief has been taken and this is purely informal. 

Some of questions raised were:

What preparation has Kathmandu University done so far?

As I understand, there has been no preparation done at this moment in time in KU. What I do know is that they have a core group of interested students who like building embedded systems and that we, from SNU, are going to help them.

So we need to prepare the videos first?

That is right, the videos and lecture materials come first, and then the students use them later. As mentioned by both Kang Dong Ho and Jaeyoung Lim, we will be using YouTube, SlideShare and Github to post videos and make a CanSat Wiki page. As of now, there are no Open CanSat initiatives as opposed to the CubeSat community and Jaeyoung is keen on establishing such community to help foster smaller, under-developed nations to have access to materials that would otherwise would have been difficult to obtain.

How is this different from the online CanSat Leadership Training Program?

The aim and approach is similar where you use the internet to present your materials, almost in a webseminar way, to the audience. However, the key difference lies in the fact that we will have short 10 min videos as opposed to CLTP's long, difficult to comprehend, lecture materials. Obviously, we will also have link to CLTP's lectures and will be using that as a primary source to help use build a relatively simple, chunkable and digestible portions for users to use.

Is this a pilot project for the Open Cansat Initiative?

If you would like to call it that way, yes. All we are asking is the feedback. We want to know how effective our method of teaching is. We will pop open a champagne the day kids in Kathmandu University build their own CanSat. 

How do we know materials we produce is going to be properly used?

There is no way of knowing that to be honest. We will do what we can and hope that students will take some time off from their busy schedule to understand what we have to tell them. Prof. Maskey has a track record of putting words into action and I have complete trust in his judgement and decisions. He will ensure that students who have promised to participate will participate. 

Wait..so you mentioned video lectures, how do you go about making them?

Nothing fancy. If you have ever taken a webseminar, it's about just that. Slides and you speak in the background. Once we have the lectures done, we will probably take videos of how to integrate a whole system together so that students in KU can use a kit similar to ours and build through the video. Furthermore, I am planning to have a discussion session through video conferencing between tutors here and the users there so that they could iron out issues they might have had. 

This is all fine, but how much time do we get?

Like all of us, I am just about hanging on to wrap up this semester with ton of assignments and reports and research yet to be done, I would say December 15, will be a good time to kick-off the project. Two critical members helping me out will have their college application done by that week, and I will have done with my horrible semester. So that time looks ripe. 

Jaeyoung mentioned that there needs to be a deadline for the termination of the project and I have decided that the project will run until February 15. That means there will be a timeline of two months. It is highly likely that my participation during the end will be minimal as SNUSAT-I still hasn't taken to orbit but will perhaps finish working on the videos before then. 

I will have a proper schedule up on December 15 along with the kickoff presentation.  

If you have any further queries, you know where to find me.


  1. Dear Madeinepali,

    On behal of KU-Robotics and School of Engineering of Kathmandu University, I appreciate your initiative to support our very first step for "KU-Mission Possible to Space" by building the KU-CanSat 1 by the beginning of 2016. I have mobilized the enthusiasts of KU-Robotics to be part of this initiative and learn more from the SNU-team' (unofficial) online training program and published manuals. Pls let me know the essential items and their specification with tentative costs, so that I could initiate building the rudimentary satellite. Thanks. Yours KU-CanSat 1 team.


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