The competition discussed in this paper have been organized and funded by the National Science Museum, The National Science and Technology Development Agency, The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy, Learning Center for Earth Science and Astronomy and University Space Engineering Consortium Thailand.
Catching up to the frontier of space exploration requires tremendous resources, knowledges, and infrastructures. As a consequence, the space education is perceived as the process for accelerating the space technology development. This paper focuses on the lessons, challenges, and outcomes from the first national CanSat competition in Thailand by looking at the self-assessments and feedbacks from the students in the competition. We identified three key findings: 1) while the student participants had limited knowledges about the space technology and engineering, they were able to overcome the lack of expertise by integrating interdisciplinary knowledges, utilizing their own creativity, and consulting their peers. 2) The competition promoted the interactive style of learning, which inspired the participants to share knowledges with their community, and more importantly helping the students see themselves as the future workforces in the emerging space industries. On the other hand, 3) the majority of the CanSat projects in the competition are in the area of weather and atmospheric studies, which are generic and utility based. We suggest the future CanSat competition to integrate science and engineering challenges with subjects such as arts, design, and humanities in order to enhance the creative capability of the participants and facilitate the transition from STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)-based learning