satellite_count += 6;

posted Jul 14, 2017, 4:02 AM by Doug Sinclair

Last night's Soyuz launch carried a host of small spacecraft.  Among them are:
  • NORSAT-1 and -2
  • Landmapper-BC 1 and 2
  • MKA-N 1 and 2
These satellites contain a total of 18 reaction wheels and 4 star trackers from Sinclair Interplanetary.  We wish the builders all the best through commissioning and operations.

Order book empty, for a brief shining moment

posted Jun 27, 2017, 11:04 AM by Doug Sinclair

When Cordell Grant, our COO, joined the company in mid-November we had 60 line items in our order book.  Thanks in large part to his hard work and skillful management, we have been chipping away at this backlog.  Yesterday we staked the screws on the very last outstanding deliverable -- a humble RW-0.01 reaction wheel engineering model.

For one precious delicate moment, the order book was empty.

Today we signed off on a new order for star trackers and reaction wheels, and the process begins again.  

Interview with NewSpace People

posted May 19, 2017, 2:42 PM by Doug Sinclair

A recent interview with NewSpace People is here.

I'm not really sure that Sinclair Interplanetary is a NewSpace company.  In some ways we are very conventional.  We deliver a concrete product, in exchange for cash.  We have no external investment, and our business plan features neither social media nor Internet of Things.  We're not even particularly new.

What we are, unashamedly, is a real space company.  We have hundreds of reaction wheels, torque rods, star trackers and sun sensors on-orbit today.  That's good enough for me.

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.

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