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Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2017


Stereo microscope aids satellite project
11 October 2017, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services

Space exploration is an ongoing adventure that captivates our imagination, resulting in scientific and technological breakthroughs that benefit all of humanity. Currently, space programmes are shifting from government-driven strategies to commercial-driven initiatives.

The NEUDOSE mission concept grew out of the need to develop advanced radiation dosimeters that lower the risk of deep space mission by providing superior radiation exposure monitoring. McMaster University is one of the world’s foremost institutions on health effects from radiation exposure and is ideally suited to address this challenge.

The project is led by Dr. Andrei Hanu who is currently working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The team is a group of undergraduate students from the university that are designing, fabricating and planning to launch a small CubeSat satellite into low earth orbit in order to study the effects of ionising radiation on the human body. The team comprises of medical physics, electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronics engineering and engineering physics students.

For the project to be successful it is important each component is thoroughly inspected to ensure accuracy and functionality. Vision Engineering’s Mantis Elite-Cam was chosen as the vital piece of equipment for this task because of its ergonomic advantages. With its eyepiece-less technology, users can inspect accurately for longer periods since they don’t suffer from neck ache or fatigue, symptoms usually associated with using a traditional microscope.

The Mantis Elite-Cam will primarily be used to inspect the PCBs and other small components of the satellite found on the main instrument of the satellite (the payload) and the TEPC, a device that measures the amount of harmful radiation for astronauts in low earth orbit. It will also be used during the building of the main onboard computer and the satellite’s communications device. The integrated camera will allow the students to capture images from inspection, aid in reflow soldering and as a teaching tool.

The secondary use of the Mantis Elite-Cam will be for all other quality assurance, for example the inspection of the solar panels, the flywheels that control the orientation of the satellite, and the structure itself. The satellite measures only 10 x 10 x 30 cm (roughly the size of a loaf of bread) and is packed full of equipment and technology.

The McMaster satellite exploration will provide students with an enhanced learning opportunity and a unique skillset that will supplement the academic fundamentals provided through their education at McMaster University. Readers can find out more about the project at

For more information contact Techmet, +27 (0)11 824 1427,,

Supplied By: Techmet
Tel: +27 11 824 1427
Fax: +27 11 824 3150
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