Triteia is a semi-autonomous chemically propelled 6U CubeSat competing in NASA's CubeQuest Competition. Currently in development, Triteia will be one of the first CubeSats to venture into deep space, paving the way for future low-cost space missions. With the incorporation of an additively manufactured thruster and 450 m/s of Delta-V, Triteia can reach it's target in days as opposed to months using low-thrust propulsion.

Triteia represents a new agile approach to space mission design. The incorporation of the CHREC space processor allows for complex autonomous functions, and data processing in a radiation rich environment. The average satellite uses out-dated high-heritage processors, thousands of time slower than a consumer PC. Triteia, is paving the way for the incorporation of modern high-level software development for future space missions.


Triteia is powered by a hydrogen peroxide blowdown system. By utilizing a monopropellant and a blowdown feed system, volume, mass, and complexity were able to be minimized.
Similar to the Vulcan-1 engine, the thruster powering Triteia, named Callan, will be additively manufactured through DMLS using Inconel 718. Inconel 718 was chosen for its high durability and proven reliability in Vulcan-1 tests.
To control all of the functions onboard the system, Triteia will be using Spacemicro’s CHREC space processor (CSP). The CSP is made with Radiation Hardened Components and features high performance computing abilities with a fault tolerant architecture. It contains a Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC (AP SoC) that will be coded to process incoming data and deliver commands to the system.
The processor will perform different operations based on the data received from sensors, commands received from the ground station, and also based on the timeline of the mission. The processor will feature a custom lightweight version of Linux.
Communication with Earth will occur solely over the S-Band using a transceiver manufactured by Innoflight. In addion, two patch antennas on opposite ends of the satellite to aid in maintaing a stable connection.
While Mission Control will be located at UCSD, the antenna responsible for sending and receiving information is located at Morehead State University in Kentucky. This antenna was selected based on cost, accessibility, and reliability with handling S-Band signals.
The chassis of Triteia will be composed of six 7075 T6 aluminum sheets, selected for its high strength and light weight. While its design was optimized to maximize volume and minimize mass, it is also responsible for safely and reliably housing all internal and external components.
It must be able to survive the immense launch accelerations, random vibrations, and extreme temperatures of space.
Power will be provided by five solar panels designed and manufactured by SEDS @ UCSD with solar cells provided by Solaero. The panels will track the sun around each orbit and is capable of generating more than 30W of energy. When in eclipse, or oriented away from the sun, 100 Wh of energy will be provided by eight Panasonic lithium-ion batteries.
To achieve the required mission lifetime, the battery depth of discharge during orbit will not exceed 40% of full charge. This limits the amount of time the spacecraft can transmit information during communication phases.
Triteia's trajectory is determined using NASA's GMAT. Its journey to the moon requires two maneuvers, one to change inclination and one to enter lunar orbit, for a total delta-v budget of 396 m/s. Disposal will occur passively within one and a half years, though the mission may be extended if enough propellant remains.
GMAT is also used to analyze various geometric properties of the mission, such as eclipse and contact times.

About the NASA CubeQuest Challenge

The Cube Quest Challenge, sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Centennial Challenge Program, offers a total of $5 million to teams that meet the challenge objectives of designing, building and delivering flight-qualified, small satellites capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon.

For more information, visit the NASA CubeQuest page.
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