Quadcopter for Cansat Droptest

Cansats are a can size satellite used for educating students to teach how to design and implement systems. Cansats are launched in small rockets which drop the cansat in around 100m ~ 3km altitude. From deployment and operation of the satellite is done in the same procedure as of the real satellites.

However, in a dense country or in city regions, launching rockets are restricted to the area available. Small rocket trajectories are usually uncontrollable requiring a large safety radius for launch(~5km for Mclass Rockets) A way to be able to drop a cansat while remaining a small safety radius is needed to deploy cansats or be able to test the deployment before launching on a real launch in a densely populated area is needed. This project proposes a way to deploy a cansat in high altitude using a quadcopter which is guided by GPS enabling it to deploy a cansat in high altitudes.

Flight test

Indoor flight test

Field Test and cansat deployment


Hardware Implementation



A deployer was designed for the 350ml cansat. The deployer is connected via a modular bottom plate, enabling different cansat deployments with a different deployer. Deployer for the cansat includes the battery to keep the center of gravity low and the structure light. The battery is a 3000mAh 3S Lipo which gives around 14 minutes of flight time in the deployment mission. The maximum altitude the deployment mission can carry is 1000m. The deployer is made out of a paper pipe, that can be easily purchased from any retail stores. A aluminum tape measure was used for the deployment door by pulling a pin to release the satellite.



Project Log

Thrust Test


The Test results for the Thrust test of the Turnigy Aerodrive 1200kv(DST-1200) motor is as below. Props – Voltage – Current – Max. Thrust 10X4.5 – 11.1V – 15A – 760g

First Prototype


This was my first time to actually scratch build a quadrotor, so a concept verification was done to check if the quadrotor will fly as designed. The results were promising and the verification of the ‘loiter mode’ in Arducopter was conducted.

Field Flight Test 1-0



Field flight test was conducted in a lightly rainy weather so the electronics were wrapped before deployment. The flight was conducted in stabilize mode as we decided not to risk the possibility of loiter mode failing in flight as the platform was not verified. During the flight, the quadcopter flew away and the deployer was detached partially degrading the flight performance. The aircraft was safely recovered.

Field Flight Test 1-1


Test was held with an operators and a spotter, and a mission specialist. The operator controlled the aircraft using a transmitter, the spotter was watching the aircraft and pedestrians for safety, the mission specialist monitored the aircraft health using the telemetry. Participants: Jaeyoung Lim, Dongho Kang, Hyuntae Kim, Abhas Maskey


Flight log shows that the aircraft reached approximately 60m altitude in a steady pace. Test was limited to such altitude for safety reasons.

Photo 2014. 8. 17. 오후 4 47 52

Photo 2014. 8. 17. 오후 4 52 24

Second flight test was successful gaining 60 meters of altitude and stable flight. Loiter mode was verfied. A Cansat mockup(A Pepsi can satellite) was successfully deployed and recovered from the aircraft. The video is presented in the top part of the blog post. The aircraft is capable of gaining altitude to 1 km but current Korean airspace regulations prevent flight over 100m altitude.




The Cansat Deployment Quad was displayed in the Seoul National University Aerospace Exhibition held in 2014.09.30~2014.10.2 in Seoul National University. Had a great time to meet wonderful people with wonderful ideas.

Project was done by Jaeyoung Lim, Dongho Kang
This project is sponsored by Seoul National University


3 thoughts on “Quadcopter for Cansat Droptest

  1. Pingback: Quadcopter for Cansat Droptest / Deployment – 캔위성 낙하시험용 쿼드콥터 제작 | EastskyKang

  2. Pingback: Quadcopter for Cansat Droptest – 캔위성 낙하시험용 쿼드콥터 제작 | EastskyKang

  3. Pingback: Quadcopter platform for Cansat Droptest / Deployment - dronespain.es

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