Keeping satellites on course

Keeping satellites on course

Sales of a Canadian nanosatellite star tracker take off
June 4, 2013

A small tracking sensor that helps orient miniature satellites in space is proof that increasingly, even in the aerospace industry, good things come in small packages. The S3S nanosatellite star tracker, developed in part at the CFI-funded Space Avionics and Instrumentation Laboratory at Ryerson University in Toronto, has generated more than $1.55 million in global sales since it was brought to market in 2010 by industrial partner Sinclair Interplanetary, an Ontario-based supplier of spacecraft hardware, software, training and expertise. The S3S ― the size of a deck of cards ― is made expressly for small satellites, which offer significant cost savings over their bigger counterparts. Its inventors hope the device will eventually enable space missions that would reduce the need for large spacecraft ― and equally large budgets.