Optical Communications Datasheets are Live

posted Feb 3, 2017, 10:13 AM by Doug Sinclair

The datasheets for optical crosslinks and downlinks are now available here.

I will be at the Smallsat Symposium on Feb 7 & 8, and look forward to hearing the latest news.

The Order Book is Open Again!

posted Jan 6, 2017, 12:48 PM by Doug Sinclair

After a year of hard work, we are most of the way through our production backlog.  At this time we can start accepting new orders for reaction wheels and star trackers.

We are not yet taking orders for optical downlinks, but by all means contact us with your requirements and we can start technical discussions.

The Benefits of Taking a Rest

posted Oct 16, 2016, 12:03 PM by Doug Sinclair

In February of 2016 we closed our order book for the year, in order to concentrate on renewing the organization.  It's not quite 2017 yet, but we have made some very positive developments since then.
  • We have shipped 27 star trackers, making headway into our backlog.  21 units remain in the order book.
  • We now occupy two floors of our building, with cleanroom and darkroom spaces in the basement and office space upstairs.
  • We have hired two new employees, including the Chief Operating Officer that we had been searching for (more on that later).
Most exciting for me, I have been able to get back into the lab and invent things.  We now have a brand new product line, taking our expertise in miniaturized precision spacecraft systems into a novel arena.  Our first units launch on two satellites in 2017.

What is it?  You'll have to wait just a little longer to find out!  We will be unveiling our new direction at the Reinventing Space Conference in London, October 24.

Another week, another launch...

posted Sep 26, 2016, 12:21 PM by Doug Sinclair

Congratulations to ISRO and SpaceFlight Industries on today's successful PSVL launch.  It carries BlackSky Pathfinder-1, which incorporates Sinclair Interplanetary reaction wheels.

Four More Satellites

posted Sep 16, 2016, 3:39 AM by Doug Sinclair   [ updated Sep 16, 2016, 3:40 AM ]

Congratulations to Terra Bella and Arianespace on the successful launch of four more SkySat satellites (numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6).  They carry the following Sinclair Interplanetary designed equipment:
  • 8 ST-16RT2 star trackers
  • 12 TQ-15 magnetic torque rods (built under license by SpaceFlight Industries)
  • 16 RW3-1.0 reaction wheels (built under license by Millennium Space Systems)
Less than 12 hours after launch all four spacecraft are 3-axis stabilized with the ADCS equipment all performing nominally.

We are hiring

posted Jul 7, 2016, 1:48 PM by Doug Sinclair

When we move into our expanded facility in September we will have 600 sq-ft per employee.  While it's tempting to bask in our Fortress of Solitude, we should probably bring on some more staff to help fill the space.

We are looking for:

Chief Operating Officer
  • Must have extensive spacecraft manufacturing experience and a flawless reputation in the industry.
  • The ideal candidate probably already knows me -- it's a small community.  Drop me a line, or come see me at Smallsat.
Star Tracker Developer
  • Should have a background in physics, astronomy, optics or engineering.
  • Must be comfortable in Matlab.
  • Must be fluent in C, and should have some assembly language experience.
  • Apply to
Both positions are full time, permanent posts working from our downtown Toronto office.

Glorious First Results from ST-16RT2 Star Tracker

posted Jun 24, 2016, 11:50 AM by Doug Sinclair   [ updated Jun 28, 2016, 4:12 PM ]

We have downloaded about 10 MB of engineering telemetry from the first two ST-16RT2 star trackers on-orbit, and it looks amazing.  Successful quaternion generation rate is in excess of 99.9%.  The overall angular error is half that of the previous generation ST-16.

Both the ST-16 and ST-16RT2 have the same basic optical parameters: 16 mm focal length, 10 mm entry pupil.  The difference is that the ST-16 uses an industrial video lens, while the ST-16RT2 uses a full custom lens that we designed from scratch.  The electronics and software are identical between the two.  Designing and manufacturing this new lens was incredibly expensive and painful, and we often wondered whether it was worthwhile.  We can say now that yes, it absolutely was.

Three More Satellites

posted Jun 22, 2016, 5:06 AM by Doug Sinclair   [ updated Jun 22, 2016, 5:48 AM ]

Congratulations to ISRO on today's PSLV launch which put another 20 spacecraft into orbit.  Three of these satellites carry Sinclair Interplanetary attitude sensors and actuators.

SkySat-C1 has the first two ST-16RT2 new generation star trackers to fly.  We eagerly await telemetry to determine just how much extra performance the improved optics will provide.  It also has the first four RW3-1.0 reaction wheels giving it the torque required for rapid re-targetting.  Rounding out the suite, it has the last magnetic torque rods built at Sinclair Interplanetary before the product line was licensed to SpaceFlight Industries.

M3MSAT has six RW-0.06 reaction wheels arranged as two redundant triads, along with three dual-wound magnetic torque rods.  It also has the last six SS-411 digital sun sensors built at Sinclair Interplanetary before the product line was licensed to NewSpace Systems.

CLAIRE (GHGSAT-D) has three RW3-0.06 reaction wheels and an ST-16 star tracker.  This is the first star tracker to fly with the RS485+CAN build option, connected to a CAN digital communications bus.

ETA: Thomas theorizes that this is the first (and likely last) single launch to carry the entire Sinclair Interplanetary product line: magnetic torque rods, reaction wheels, sun sensors and star trackers.  I believe he is correct.

12 arc-second pointing in a 7 kg nanosat

posted Jun 5, 2016, 6:55 AM by Doug Sinclair

We are often asked "If I buy your equipment, what pointing accuracy can I achieve?"  It's a difficult question, because while we sell attitude sensors and actuators we do not sell complete ACS solution engineering.

The University of Toronto Space Flight Laboratory has just published a paper (here) on the results of the BRITE constellation.  Using an ST-16 star tracker and three RW-0.03 reaction wheels they achieve 12 arc-second 1-sigma pointing error as measured by their payload telescope.  The BRITE satellites are 7 kg 20x20x20 cm cubes, and can be thought of as equivalent to 8U Cubesats.

This is by far the best pointing performance ever achieved by a nanosat, and we congratulate SFL on the accomplishment.

Congratulations to Satellogic

posted Jun 5, 2016, 6:39 AM by Doug Sinclair

On May 30 Satellogic successfully launched the first two satellites of the Aleph-1 constellation, Fresco and Batata, on a CZ-4B out of China.  These spacecraft are notable in that they carry the first RW3-0.06 reaction wheels built under license.  Sinclair Interplanetary transferred the technology to Satellogic, and these parts were made in Uruguay.

By licensing proven designs to constellation makers we can reduce the satellite cost and keep Sinclair Interplanetary focused on innovation instead of serial production.

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