Thomas Sears is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Canada. He is passionate about the exploration of space and connecting people with all things science and technology. Thomas joined the Offroad Robotics research group in September 2019, where he will investigate the applications of multi-robot collaboration in planetary exploration. His focus on collaborative navigation for autonomous mobile robots is particularly important in the pursuit to put humans permanently on the Moon and Mars.

Thomas previously studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (M.A.Sc.) and Carleton University (B.Eng). As a member of the Space Flight Laboratory, his research on materials and mechanisms for spacecraft de-orbiting technology was critical to the demonstrated success of the CanX-7 nanosatellite mission. Prior to joining the Offroad Robotics group, Thomas was an Attitude Systems Engineer at Sinclair Interplanetary in Toronto, Ontario. In this role, he developed, assembled, and tested spacecraft attitude determination and control hardware. Thomas has built over 100 devices that are already in or destined for space.

In addition to his research, Thomas works as a consultant in the Canadian space sector and serves as a volunteer on the advisory board for Engineers of Tomorrow. At Queen’s University he advises the Satellite Project on the Queen’s Space Engineering Team and facilitates an introductory workshop to satellite engineering for undergraduate students. Thomas is a licensed Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario.


Ingenuity Labs Research Institute, Queen’s University
Mitchell Hall, Room 245
69 Union St West
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6


External Links

Teaching Activities

Queen’s University – Teaching Assistant

APSC 143 – Introduction to Computer Programming for Engineers (Fall 2019)


Select Conference Papers

C. C. Grant, T. M. C. Sears, J. Gibson, N. Kerr, D. Sinclair. Quantity and Quality: Scaling Small Business for Large Constellations. Proceedings of the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Logan, Utah, August 2019.

T. M. C. Sears, J. Newman, B. Cotten, J. Fine, J. Chung, H. Spencer, K. A. Carroll, R. E. Zee. Proposed Design of a Microspace Mission for Near-Earth Asteroid Mining Survey and Tracking. Proceedings of the 65th International Astronautical Congress, Toronto, Canada, September 2014.

T. M. C. Sears, R. E. Zee. Sail Material, Inspection Imager, and Deployment Analysis for an End-Of-Life Disposal Drag Sail. Proceedings of the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Logan, Utah, August 2014.

T. M. C. Sears, B. Cotten, R. E. Zee. Performance Analysis of Thin Film Materials in a Drag Sail Deorbiting Device. Proceedings of the Small Satellite Systems and Services (4S) Symposium, Majorca, Spain, May 2014.

Academic Theses

T. M. C. Sears. Sail, Deployment, and Imaging Technology for a Nanosatellite Deorbit System Demonstration on CanX-7. M.A.Sc. Thesis, Space Flight Laboratory, Institute for Aerospace Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, November 2014 (advisor: Robert E. Zee)

T. M. C. Sears. Satellite Attitude Determination with a Multiplicative Extended Kalman Filter. B.Eng. Thesis, Deparment of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, May 2012 (advisor: Anton de Ruiter)