CNES projects library

April 11, 2023


Dragonfly is a rotorcraft mission designed to explore the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

The Dragonfly mission is setting out to explore a carbon-rich atmosphere. It will be the second instrumented rotorcraft to fly on another body in the solar system other than Earth, after the demonstration flights of Ingenuity for the Perseverance mission ( on Mars. The octocopter will have four double rotors, a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) and scientific instruments to study Titan’s surface and atmosphere over several hundred kilometres. It will have much greater range and autonomy (up to 8 km) than Ingenuity, and be able to fly at a much higher altitude (up to 4 km).

The mission’s goal is to study Titan’s biochemistry to find out if past or extant life could have developed there in conditions different to those on Earth.

Dragonfly was selected in 2019 as the fourth mission of NASA’s New Frontiers programme. It is currently scheduled for launch in June 2027 to land on Titan end 2034.

CNES is heading the French contribution to the mission, which covers:

  • DraMS (Dragonfly Mass Spectrometer), for which the LISA, LGPM and LESIA1 research laboratories are designing and building the DraMS-GC (Gas Chromatography) subsystem for prime contractor the LATMOS2 research laboratory.
  • DraGMet (Dragonfly Geophysics and Meteorology Package), with a scientific contribution.

1 LISA inter-university laboratory for the study of atmospheric systems, LGPM process engineering and materials laboratory, LESIA space and astrophysics instrumentation research laboratory
2 LATMOS atmospheres, environments and space observations laboratory