Cine-Sextant Mobile Tracking System


  The Photo-Sonics Cine-Sextant Tracking system provides a high performance, TSPI data gathering system in a rugged, mobile configuration.

The Cine-Sextant utilizes three custom, direct-drive torque motors: one 1800 foot-pound torque motor in the azimuth axis and two 550 foot-pound motors providing 1100 foot pounds of torque in the elevation axis. This high level of torque is provided to maintain maximum dynamic tracking accuracy and performance with heavy or unbalanced payloads.  Four motorized jacks provide a wide footprint for a stable tracking base. 

All major structural members including the base casting, azimuth carriage, and instrumentation platforms are cast of high strength aluminum alloy.  The attachment hardware on the trailer is provided for lifting the system by crane or helicopter.

The Cine-Sextant is offered in both a man-in-the-mount and/or an unmanned configuration with complete remote control operation.  In the unmanned configuration the customer has the option of configuring a center platform for mounting additional payload such as a 34” aperture telescope and sensor suite.


The Photo-Sonics, Inc. Cine-Sextant Tracking Mount.

Control console for the Photo-Sonics, Inc. Cine-Sextant Tracking Mount.

                Missile Launch  /  Ordnance Separation  /  Target Interception  /  Test Track  /  Take-Off and Landing  
                Mobile  /  High Degree of Accuracy  /  High Dynamics  /  Versatile Payload  /  Sidereal Rate Tracking  /  Star Calibration  /  
                Manned or Unmanned Operation  /  Remote Control Capability  /  Target Simulation  /  Diagnostic Software  /  Motorized  
                or Manual Leveling Jacks  /  Top and Bottom Instrumentation Mounting Platforms (4)  / Camera Boresighting, Alignment,  
                and Loading from a Standing Position on the Ground  /  Adjustable Platform Height Provides for Balancing Equipment  
                Load /  Unique Direct AZ-EL Torque Motor Design  / Optical Encoders Up to 23 Bit  /  Parallax and Elevation Adjustments  
                / Built-in, Selectable, Dual-Power Sighting Scope (8, 15, or 24X) with Lighted Reticle  /  Dynamic Braking  /  Open Sight  
                Acquisition Aid with Lighted Reticle   
                Digital and Film Cameras  /  IR Cameras  /  Tracking Video  /  Acquisition Video  /  Radar:  Tracking - Range  /  
                Laser: Ranging  
                Available Imaging and Related Equipment    
                ● Photo-Sonics 35mm-4EL High-Speed Film Camera with Data Head and Digital Phase Lock Servo Control  
                ● Photo-Sonics Auto-Focus Tables  
                ● Photo-Sonics 100-inch and 48-inch Lenses  
                ● Photo-Sonics Barlows for conversion of 100-inch lens to 120, 150, 180 and 200 inch  
                ● Monochrome CCD camera, ruggedized, with 7" zoom lens (400-3000mm) for target tracking and stellar calibration  
                ● Color CCD camera and 3.25" zoom lens (50mm~700mm) for remote target acquisition  
                ● Photo-Sonics DV1 High-Speed Digital Camera  
                ● Infrared Imaging System  
                ● Weibel Doppler Tracking Radar  
                ● Laser Range Finder  
                ● Long-record digital cameras  
                ● Zoom lenses  
                ● RC telescopes  
                ● Metric zooms  
                ● Auto-tracker with Dual-Gate option  
                Control Electronics  
                ● Dual Gate Video Tracker  
                ● Global Positioning System (or IRIG-B) for timing and position  
                ● Photo-Sonics Film Data Recording System  
                ● Video Data Recording System  
                ● Optical Encoders up to 23 bit  
                ● On-Board Computer systems (3): 15 slot VME in trailer, 5 slot VME in trunion and 19-inch
                 rack-mounted PC in the Remote Control Console
                ● Dual Bay Remote Control Console  
               Argus Software Components  
                ● Comprehensive pre-flight preparation and calibration. Includes built-in tests.  
                ● Real time TSPI input and output  
                ● Nominal Trajectories  
                ● Target Simulation  
                ● Celestial Calibration designed specifically for an off-axis tracking system with sensors mounted
                 on either side of the rotational axis for better than 5 arc-second accuracies
                ● Remote control capabilities from the Remote Control Console  
                ● Extensive Fault Detection  
                ● Comprehensive Man-Machine Interface  
             System Specifications
Size    218"L x 96"W x 95.5"H  (plus 18" trailer tongue)
Weight    Mount - 12,540 lbs. (no payload)
   Tongue Weight - 1,000 lbs.
Payload    1,000 lbs. total
Travel    Azimuth - 600° total
   Elevation - 180° total
Torque    Azimuth - 1x1800 ft. lbs. permanent magnet motor
   Elevation - 2x550 ft. lbs. permanent magnet motors
(with 600- pound payload)
   Azimuth - >2.5 radians per second per second
   Elevation - >3.5 radians per second per second
Velocity    Azimuth and Elevation - configurations available from sidereal to 1.75  
   radian per second
Dynamic Range    1000:1
(with 600-pound payload)
   Azimuth - 12 Hz
   Elevation - 15 Hz
Non-orthogonality    <15 arc seconds
Bearing Wobble    < 6 arc seconds
Power Requirements    208VAC, 60 Hz, 3 phase
   Total peak power 7.5 KVA providing 1,800 ft. lbs. azimuth torque and 750 ft.  
   pounds elevation torque
   380 VAC, 50Hz, 3-phase (optional)
Road Clearance    12 inches
Roadability    Highway - 55 mph
   Unimproved Roads - 35 mph
Mobile and Fixed-Site Cine-Sextant Systems
The Photo-Sonics Mobile and Fixed-Site Cine-Sextant tracking systems provide smooth, high-dynamic performance TSPI tracking of a target anywhere in the celestial hemisphere that begins 8 degrees below the horizontal.

The Cine-Sextant serves as a support system mounting of cameras or any electro-optical devices used in target tracking and data acquisition. This mount requires only one man for set-up, alignment and operation. Its four platform mounting surfaces can carry up to 250 pounds each with no loss in performance.

The basic design requirements of the tracking mount are the same in both mobile and fixed installation systems. The tracking mount consists of a base assembly that contains three leveling screws, azimuth drive motor, tape cables, and azimuth carriage assembly. The azimuth carriage carries the control stick and the operator seat, and also supports the elevation axis assembly, comprised of the elevation drive motors and the elevation payload carrying platforms.  Encoders of any desired accuracy up to 23 bits can be incorporated.

Complete power and control systems are located in the trailer of the mobile unit; in the fixed site installation, a separate control console is located adjacent to the mount. In this configuration, a working platform is erected around the tracking mount, whereas in the mobile version, this is naturally provided by the trailer deck.


Control Software — The ARGUS control software provides all the functionality the user would expect of an advanced TSPI tracking system. It provides a single interface for the tracking pedestal, sensors, auto-tracking, radar, calibration, target simulation and diagnostics of the complete tracking system. Control of the system is simplified via an intuitive touch screen GUI. The standard ARGUS application can control up to 10 sensor stations, in addition to radar and lasers, allowing a single-operator complete control of all aspects of a complex and highly capable system from a remote location. It also provides the control of single and dual-gate auto trackers and fixed focal length and zoom lenses and focus tables. Automated Star Calibration are incorporated to yield the highest TSPI accuracy of any optical tracking system manufactured today.

Visit the ARGUS software page.

Photo-Sonics suggests replacing outdated hydraulic elevation actuators with DC torque motors to provide higher performance.  The original configuration included hydraulic actuators to drive the elevation axis.  These elevation actuators required a host of support equipment, including servo valves, rotary joints, hydraulic plumbing and hoses, crank assembly as well as several units on the trailer assembly

If you do not currently own an old style Cine-Sextant, please let us know and we will provide a unit for refurbishment.

   The conversion will effect five major subsystems of the Cine-Sextant:
● Replaces the hydraulic elevation actuators with direct-drive DC torque motors.
● Replaces the electronic drawer and power amplifier with an all new electronic control and pulse-width-modulated    
   power amplifier integrated into a single package.
● Replaces the crank and single power tracking scope with a dual power sighting scope with lighted reticule and open 
   acquisition aid with lighted lines.
● Replaces old style elevation tachometer with new style, making it a more reliable system.

   The upgrade of the Cine-Sextant will provide the following benefits:
● Higher performance and bandwidth resulting from new style pulse-width modulated electronics.
● Dumping capabilities to determine systematic accuracies.
● Higher reliability with the removal of the hydraulics.
● No non-linearity's associated with the hydraulic system.
● No elevation stiction inherent with elevation actuators.
● No hydraulic contamination.
● No leakage associated with the hydraulic equipment.
● Lower maintenance costs.

● Auto Focus Table
● Film Data Recording System                 
● Remote Control
● Video Data insertion
● Tow Vehicle with Generator
● Angular Data Display
● Autotrack Integration
● 220VAC, 50 Hz, 3 Phase
Photo-Sonics, Inc.
818-842-2141     (ph - switchboard paging)
818-842-2610     (fax)

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