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Dr. John Enright

John Enright
Associate Professor
BASc, MS, PhD, PEng
416-979-5000 ext. 554174

Areas of Academic Interest

Spacecraft Attitude Estimation

Space Systems Engineering

Optical Navigation

Mobile Robotics


Year University Degree
2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD
1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology MS
1997 University of Toronto

Selected Courses

Course Code Course Title
AER 627 Introduction to Space Robotics
AER 821 Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control
AE8143 Avionics


Sometimes you have to think small to go big. For John Enright, nanosatellites are the key to doing ambitious science on a very small platform. “In the past, you might have used a spacecraft the size of a school bus to perform a dozen experiments,” says Enright. “Now, you can perform a single experiment on a very small platform.”

Using nanosatellites can translate into huge cost-savings for space agencies. “You can send up a satellite for a few million dollars, rather than a hundred million dollars,” he says. Rather than aiming for perfection, the ultimate goal is to achieve very good performance at a fraction of the mass, cost and power.

In his lab, Enright works on developing compact instruments that perform earth observation, monitor natural resources, and enable communication or marine traffic on an unprecedented scale. To get new ideas for projects, Enright asks his friends within the industry about problems they’re experiencing.

Enright emphasizes the importance of rationalizing your results. “The expectation is that the first time you build something, it’s not going to work. Trying to figure out why is what makes you a good engineer.”

John Enright

“Sanity-checking your own work is a crucial skill for good engineers."