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Dragonfly : Defining Environments for Rotorcraft Flight on Titan

Ralph D. Lorenz, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

October 10, 2020

https://doi.org/10.4050/F-0076-2020-16301

Abstract:
Dragonfly is an X-8 octocopter designed to explore Saturn’s moon Titan, and is currently under development for launch in 2026. Titan is a uniquely favorable body for atmospheric flight, in that it has a low gravity (1/7 Earth’s) and a dense atmosphere (4x Earth’s) which reduce the energetic requirements for heavier-than-air flight. Dragonfly will make multiple (autonomous) flights over several years with ranges of the order of 10km to explore different sites on Titan. The key features of the Titan environment are reviewed. These include the characteristics of the landing site terrain, resembling dune fields in terrestrial deserts. Winds are generally very low, ~ 1m/s. Stronger winds, and methane rainfall, can occur in rare rainstorms, but these are not expected at the latitude and season of Dragonfly’s arrival. Brownout and triboelectric charging due to surface dust lofted by rotor downwash is possible, and these hazards and their mitigations are discussed.


Dragonfly : Defining Environments for Rotorcraft Flight on Titan

  • Presented at Forum 76 - Best Paper for this session
  • 9 pages
  • SKU # : F-0076-2020-16301
  • Your Price : $30.00
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Dragonfly : Defining Environments for Rotorcraft Flight on Titan

Authors / Details: Ralph D. Lorenz, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory