Cyteen is a station and planet orbiting Lalande 46650, an M2 red dwarf 19.5 light years from Sol. Cyteen Station was founded in 2201 by ECS10 Challenger, which departed in 2192 from Mariner (Van Maanen's Star). Lalande 46650 is also known as Gliese 908 or BD+01 4774.

Cyteen Station, later to become Cyteen Inner Station, is established in orbit over a planet with non-sentient life largely poisonous to humans, but with generally Earth-like atmospheric pressure, oceans, topography, and gravity. The colonists begin aggressive terraforming almost immediately.

The Cyteen system is 6.75 light years from Mariner Station and 11.6 light years from Pell (Tau Ceti).

Mariner began studying Lalande 46650 almost immediately after its founding in 2175. After finding evidence of planets there in 2177, Mariner spent 11 years building the Cyteen module, and followed up its dispatch by sending ECS5 Atlantis in 2195 to provide additional supplies to a station not even established.

The eventual construction of what becomes Cyteen Outer Station suggests a gas giant is present in the system, providing raw material for starship fuel. Cyteen is identified as being rich in resources, which suggests either an asteroid belt, rich Kupier belt, or both.

In 2203, the city of Novgorod is established on the planet.

In 2220, physicist Estelle Bok arrives at Cyteen as an immigrant. Ten years later, she makes a major breakthrough which allows Cyteen to develop FTL travel. Her station managers authorize development of the first FTL probe, which departs for Mariner in 2234 and returns within the year.

To ensure no word spreads of Cyteen's FTL developments, ECS3 Argo, arriving at Cyteen in 2233, is detained. Argo is not released until 2235, returning to Mariner, apparently ignorant of the FTL probe's journey. Argo arrives Mariner in 2242 with its story. Although not explicitly stated, this suggests the FTL probe never actually docked at Mariner, or if it did, hid the fact that it came FTL from Cyteen.

Cyteen keeps FTL secret from the sublight ships docking over the next decade. ECS4 Golden Hind arrives 2241 and heads back to Mariner.

Following success of the FTL probe, construction of FTL1 Aurora begins. Aurora is launched in 2248, again to Mariner, returning to Cyteen within the year.

Cyteen becomes the capital of what will evolve into Union, rebelling against the Earth Company in what becomes the Company Wars.

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