In October 1997 a unique mission to the Saturnian system will be launched by NASA, the CASSINI mission. One goal of this mission is to study the Saturnian dust environment, and for this task, the COSMIC DUST ANALYZER (CDA) has been developed and is currently being tested. Impact ionization is used to determine the speed (1 - 100 km/s) and the mass (1•10–15 – 1•10–9 g) of impinging particles. Furthermore, the electric charge (1•10–15 – 1•10–12 C) of the particles can be measured via the induction principle, and an integrated time-of-flight mass spectrometer will analyze the chemical composition of individual dust particles. In order to achieve sufficient sensitivity for dust fluxes as low as 10 particles/(month-m 2), the sensor has a large sensitive area of 0.1 m2. This paper will describe the function of the experiment.