Making our Printed Circuit Boards with Altium software

For many of our subteams at McMaster NEUDOSE, our Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are designed using elite design software supplied from one of our major sponsors, Altium.

This software provides an easy way to create board layouts with 3D views of the final products (shown below). In its interactive routing features, an efficiently spaced circuit board can be designed, then manufactured with ease due to the seamless drawing outputs of the final circuit board designs. To learn more about Altium's design software, check out their software features at

The PCB that Command & Data Handling team have created works as the "brain" of the satellite. Data from the satellite's sensors is filtered, processed, compressed, and then stored to memory.

Photos of Command & Data Handling team's PCB (Left: Isometric top view. Right: bottom view) 

Ground control to Major Tom, we built our Ground Station

The Groundstation Targeting and Communication Unit created by the Groundstation team. Photo by Anthony Mansour.

The Groundstation Targeting and Communication Unit was completed through the efforts of the Groundstation team, under the supervision of Dr. Ishwar Singh.  The 3m tall station will allow communication between the NEUDOSE team and the satellite during flight. Once we receive general location info from NORAD, we will use the Groundstation to find our satellite. Using the rotor that the antennae are mounted on, we will track and follow the satellite as we receive our scientific data. This system consists of a Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and a Very High Frequency (VHF) receiver.

Final touches will include the addition of a lightning protection box. Further plans include adding an S-band dish later in the next few years.

Thank you Altium!

AltiumĀ® 2014 Logo_blackOnWhite.jpg

McMaster NEUDOSE would like to thank Altium for their continued support in providing software licenses and technical support for our team members! The use of Altium Designer to create circuit boards is incredibly valuable to many subsystems on our team, allowing us to create boards that perform a wide range of tasks including processing radiation data and receiving/transmitting information to/from Earth. Valued at $192,295 USD, the Altium sponsorship is not only crucial to the mission's success, but will also provide an incredible learning opportunity for students to complement their studies at McMaster.

Infrared Image of UHF Board


Electronics can get hot. On Earth, the heat can dissipate as convection through air, but unfortunately there is no air in space! This means that it is crucial to understand the thermal profile of all electronics on board so we can tackle heating and cooling problems on the satellite. Imaged here is a thermal image of our UHF communications board captured on a FLIR infrared camera while it is running at full capacity. The hottest component on the board heats up to 51.5 degrees Celsius.

UHF Radio


In the photo above, Communications team lead Jimmy, left, is teaching new member Trent, right, about the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) board designed and constructed by our Communications team. The UHF board will be used to send the scientific data collected in space back to us on Earth. Jimmy has been busy testing all of the components on this board!

100,000 ft Up!


Last week our radiation detector system was able to fly 100,000 ft above the ground! As a part of the High Altitude Student Platform program offered by Louisiana State University and the NASA Balloon Office, our payload, and 11 other payloads from universities all over North America, was able to be tested in an elevated environment. Our instrument can be seen in the bottom left corner of the screen. It is an incredible opportunity to launch from New Mexico and test our detector system in the harsh environmental conditions way above the ground. 

Thank You Crimp Circuits!


We would like to give recognition to Crimp Circuits for their generous sponsorship of the McMaster NEUDOSE team. Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) fabricated by Crimp Circuits are a part of our NEUDOSE instrument, which will be flown in a NASA Scientific Balloon Flight slated for early September! Thanks to everyone at Crimp Circuits that helps us with our mission by providing us with quality boards and service.