A team of students from St Columba's College in Dublin has been crowned this year's winner of the CanSat national finals.

The competition aims to encourage secondary school pupils into science, technology, engineering and maths by getting them to design, build and fly small drinks can sized satellites packed with sensors.

Every CanSat has a primary mission of measuring air temperature and air pressure on its descent back to Earth.

Each team must also choose a number of secondary missions too, which can include parameters like GPS location, radiation levels, acceleration and remote commands.

CanSats are launched from a small high powered rocket

The CanSats are launched from a small high powered rocket, which brings them to around 400m before deploying them.

Alternatively they can be brought up on a quadcopter or drone which drops them.

They then float down on a parachute.

After the data has been collected and analysed, each team must then present their findings to the judges, who in turn decide which project overall is the winner.

The project teams are marked on their educational value, technical achievement, team work and outreach.

A number of regional finals took place around the country in recent months, with the national finals taking place in Emo Court and the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise over the past two days.

This year's national finalists were Coláiste Muire from Ennis, Mount Mercy College in Cork, Moate Community School from Westmeath, Kilrush Community School from Clare, St Columba's College from Dublin, Belvedere College Dublin and Mercy College in Sligo.

Each team was supported by experts from institutes of technology around the country.

The winning team received €2,000 from MIDAS and Xilinx, as well as a trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the CanSat European finals in Germany in June.