Satellite Sync
Jeff Schnitzer avatar
Written by Jeff Schnitzer
Updated over a week ago

In an ideal world, OrbitKit could publish exhibits to venues entirely from our servers and you would not have to run any software yourself. For many platforms, this is indeed how OrbitKit works. But Redbubble, TeePublic, and Teespring are different - for technical and policy reasons, publishing must happen from software that you run on your desktop.

Satellite Sync uses your browser, on your computer, to interact with these platforms and publish listings.

Install and Enable

Good news - you don't have to install any new software! Satellite Sync is built into Airlock, OrbitKit's Chrome extension. Open the Airlock tab, choose "Satellite Sync", and flip the "Enabled" switch:

If Satellite Sync is enabled, Airlock will check at regular intervals to see if there is more work to do. If so, it will open new tabs which automate the publishing/sync process. You can watch it work.

Connecting To Websites

For Satellite Sync-enabled venues, connecting connecting a Venue to your specific platform account starts out the same as for any other kind of Airlock-enabled platform. Here are the steps for connecting (for example) a Redbubble venue:

  1. At, create a new Redbubble venue in your organization

  2. Make sure you are logged into with "remember me"

  3. Open the Airlock chrome extension, choose "Venues" at the top

  4. Click the Link button:

This associates the venue with your Redbubble account. Note that OrbitKit doesn't store your Redbubble credentials; Satellite Sync only works when your browser is logged into

Multiple Venues

If you have multiple Redubble (or TeePublic, etc) accounts, this becomes a little more complicated. Your browser can only be logged into one account at a time!

The solution is to create multiple browsing profiles in Chrome, one for each Redbubble account. Install Airlock into each browsing profile. Satellite Sync always uses "the current account you are logged into with", so each profile will publish separately.

If that sounds confusing, reach out to OrbitKit support using the chat window and we'll help out.

Very Important Rules for Satellite Sync

Using a Chrome extension is convenient - no special software to install, and the extension automatically stays up to date as we release new versions. However, Chrome imposes some limitations that you must be aware of. Read this section carefully.

The Airlock Tab Must Be Open

In order for Satellite Sync to run, the Airlock tab (what you get when you click the orbitkit logo button for the extension) must be open. If you close the tab, syncing stops. Think of the Airlock tab as an application that just happens to run inside your browser.

The Airlock Tab Must Be (at least partially) Visible

This needs a little bit of explanation. To conserve system resources and battery life, the Google Chrome team introduced behavior that slows down javascript on tabs that are "in the background". The rule is basically "if the tab is not visible to the user, slow it down". If some other tab or window fully occludes the display area of a tab, javascript executing there gets throttled to a very slow rate.

This is a problem for Satellite Sync, which may spend hours publishing your listings. If one of the "working tabs" is hidden, publishing slows to a crawl and may even stop completely.

Obviously this isn't a problem if you just want to open Airlock, run Satellite Sync, and walk away or go to sleep. But assuming you still want to use your computer while syncing runs in the background, you must take precautions.

Option #1: Make sure some part of the Airlock window remains visible

The Airlock window (the Google Chrome window that contains the Airlock tab and all the working tabs that are opened by the Satellite Sync process) doesn't need to be on top, it just needs to be visible. And not all of it! If just a tiny part of the window is visible on your desktop, Chrome will not put it to sleep.

Just a few pixels of the window showing in the bottom corner of your screen will keep it awake. However, if you're the kind of person that likes to work with maximized windows, this won't work.

Option #2: Run Chrome with a special flag

You can completely disable the throttling behavior by running Google Chrome with a special command line flag:


This is a pretty innocuous change and should not have a negative effect on your system, other than slightly less less battery life (the Chrome team measured a 10% difference, given a random assortment of websites).

How to run Chrome with a command line parameter? It depends on what OS you are using. Don't forget to quit Chrome before you re-run it with the flag!

On Windows

  1. Create a shortcut to Google Chrome

  2. Edit the shortcut (rightclick, Properties)

  3. Edit the Target field, add --disable-background-timer-throttling

  4. Click OK on the properties edit dialog

  5. Use this shortcut to launch Chrome

A visual example of how to do this is here.

On MacOS

One option is to open a Terminal window and open chrome from the command line:

open -b --args --disable-background-timer-throttling

However, opening a terminal window every time is a bit of a pain. You can create a clickable applescript with this one-liner:

do shell script "open -b --args --disable-background-timer-throttling"

If you don't want to muck with applescript, you can download a pre-packaged applescript application which runs that one-liner here. It's unsigned app; you will need to "Open Anyway" in your Privacy & Security settings.

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