ExoTerra was founded in 2011 with a vision of reducing the cost of space exploration. We pursue this goal by developing affordable technologies that minimize spacecraft mass and volume while enhancing their performance and offering unique capabilities.
Since our founding, we have grown to 16 engineers with skills in structural, mechanical, and systems design and analysis, thermal protection and analysis, and electrical engineering. We offer engineering and consulting services in these disciplines, and design and build high-capability power and propulsion components, subsystems, and fully-integrated buses for CubeSats and small satellites.
ExoTerra’s work to-date has focused on miniaturization of satellites, high-efficiency electric propulsion, advanced spacecraft architectures, and in-situ resource utilization.
Through our CubeSat work, we have fit large solar arrays and powerful electric thrusters into small volumes, while squeezing the associated high-capacity power processing card into the commonly-used CubeSat PC104 form factor and designing tiny mechanisms for retention-and-release, array pointing, and thrust vectoring.
Our CubeSat Solar Electric Propulsion systems have won several NASA SBIRs to further mature the associated technology. These SEP systems have figured prominently in numerous studies for commercial constellations, lunar, asteroid, and Mars missions.
Advanced Spacecraft Architectures
ExoTerra was the lead member of one of 4 teams selected to develop mission and vehicle concepts for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission. Our concept would not only return an asteroid, but provide a versatile, modular, and reusable SEP “tug boat” to reduce the cost of transportation between Earth and the Moon or Mars.
In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)
Under a NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts award, ExoTerra designed a micro-ISRU system that could be sent as part of a miniature lander to harvest local water and convert it into propellants. The device minimized lander mass by allowing on-surface refueling, vastly reducing the cost of sample return missions.
Our SEP system is currently undergoing testing, and is scheduled for a first flight in 2019.