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Precision Attitude Determination for CubeSats and SmallSats

MAI-SS Space Sextant: Miniature Star Tracker

The MAI-SS Space Sextant is a low-cost Star Tracker intended for CubeSat and SmallSat missions. The unit is completely self-contained and features 'Lost in Space' star identification. Just apply power and begin receiving quaternions accurate to about 5.7 arcseconds.


The system has been extensively rate tested and shown to have 96.4% availability of solutions at rates in excess of 2°/sec.  


The electronics have been radiation tested to 75krad while an optional baffle provides 45° Sun rejection.  The MAI-SS is available in either vertical or horizontal mounting.

Because this product was developed under NASA SBIR funding, U.S. Government customers may purchase this product on a non-competitive basis as follows: “In accordance the SBA Policy Directive Sec 4 (c) (2), any procurement by US Government Entities is an SBIR Phase III award that is derived from, extends, or completes efforts made under prior SBIR funding agreements and is authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2304(b)(2) or 41 U.S.C. 3303(b) with no further competition pursuant to FAR 6.302-5”

Star Tracker Specifications

  • Accuracy (cross axis/ boresight): 5.7/27 arcsec

  • Acquisition time:   0.130 sec LIS, 

                                      0.105 sec Track Mode (typical)

  • Max Tracking Rate: >2.0°/sec

  • Update Rate: 4 Hz

  • Star Catalog: 1803 stars to 6.1 VM, 100% coverage

  • Lens: 0.9” f1.2 BK7G25 Glass to eliminate rad darkening

  • Sun Exclusion 45° with baffle

  • Radiation TID: 75krad to outside of case

  • Operating Temperature: -40 to 80 °C

  • Weight: 197 g (282 g w/ housing)

  • Dimensions: 7.94 x 5.91 x 4.64 cm

                            Baffle: 10 x 9 (aperture) x 12 cm length

  • DC Voltage: 5.0 V

  • Average Power Consumption: 1.5 W 

  • Serial Interface: UART TTL / I2C / RS-422 / RS-232


Complete ADACS and ADACS components for CubeSats and Small Spacecraft.
Performance & Reliability
Guidance and Control
Systems for CubeSats and Small Satellites customized to mission requirements.
Adcole Maryland Aerospace's compact guidance and attitude control systems are designed to accommodate a variety of sensor options and combinations. ADACS sensor configuration examples:
  • 2 Star Trackers
  • 1 Star Tracker - 1 Sun Sensor
  • 2 Earth Horizon Sensors

Technical Questions:

Maryland Location:

2145 Priest Bridge Dr, Ste15
Crofton, MD 21114

Telephone: (410) 451-2505
Fax: (410) 451-2507

Massachusetts Location:

669 Forest Street
Marlborough, MA 01752

Telephone: (508) 485-9100
Fax: (508) 481-6142

Start your mission:

Adcole - Established 1957: From the dawn of the space age to the forefront of the New Space Revolution. 

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Reliable, affordable SmallSats, CubeSats , ADACS and New Space components.