Visit the McMaster-made NEUDOSE satellite before its big launch day

A closeup of a yellow-and black device, the cube satellite.

The NEUDOSE satellite goes to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec next week ahead of its launch, scheduled for February 2023. So if you've ever wanted to see a satellite up close, this is your chance.  

McMaster community members have a chance on Monday to “meet” a satellite — developed right here at Mac by students and researchers — before the Canadian Space Agency launches and deploys it.

The NEUDOSE cube satellite, about the size of a loaf of bread, is designed to measure the potentially dangerous ionizing radiation astronauts are exposed to during spacewalks, and help scientists better understand its effects on the human body.

A team effort involving students and researchers from the faculties of Science, Engineering, Business and Humanities, the satellite was selected in 2018 by the Canadian Space Agencies as one of 15 Canadian CubeSat projects that would make it into space.

The satellite is scheduled for launch in February 2023. Before that, it must travel to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, where it will be inspected and installed in a special deployer, ready for launch.

So if you’ve ever wanted to see a satellite up close, this is your chance.

See the NEUDOSE CubeSat  

When: Monday Nov. 28, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: BSB 309

How: Click here to sign up for a time slot. The satellite is in a cleanroom, which means entry is limited to 10 visitors every 15 minutes.

The origin story

NEUDOSE began as the brainchild of McMaster Radiation Sciences graduate and adjunct professor Andrei Hanu, a former researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Hanu approached Soo Hyun Byun, a professor of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, with the idea of building a radiation-monitoring satellite and together they assembled an elite student team.

In 2018, the Canadian Space Agency selected it to be a Canadian CubeSat project. In 2019, the NEUDOSE team passed another round of agency approvals.

What it does

NEUDOSE — “NEU” for neutrons, “DOS” for dosimetry (the measurement of radiation dose) and “E” for exploration — is the first device that to measure the amount of neutron and charged particle radiation an astronaut receives during a spacewalk. Neutrons, which are produced when galactic cosmic rays interact with the earth’s upper atmosphere, make up about 50 per cent of the radiation dose that humans receive in space. It’s important to track an astronaut’s exposure to neutrons, because they can have serious effects on a body’s DNA.

NEUDOSE will beam data to McMaster, where it will be collected and analyzed, helping researchers on the ground understand how long-term exposure to charged and neutral particles affects the human body.

Click here to learn how the NEUDOSE CubeSat works