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Challenging Mini-satellite Payload (CHAMP)

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Status: Completed
Mission Category: Earth Observing System (EOS)
Launch Date: July 15, 2000
Actual Completion Date: September 19, 2010

During its mission, Challenging Mini-satellite Payload (CHAMP) generated simultaneously highly precise gravity and magnetic field measurements for the first time. These measurements have allowed scientists to detect the spatial variations of both fields as well as their variability with time. The CHAMP mission opened a new era in geopotential research with: 1) mapping of the Earth’s global long to medium wavelength gravity field and temporal variations; 2) mapping of the Earth’s global magnetic field and temporal variations and; 3) atmosphere/ionosphere sounding. As a result, CHAMP data has applications in global climate studies, oceanography, weather forecasting, disaster research, navigation, geophysics, geodesy, and solar terrestrial physics.

CHAMP-derived data serve as an ideal basis for a further refinement of modern satellite surveying methods. They are also useful in remote sensing and cartography applications, such as in the construction of digital terrain models that cover large land and ice areas. The evaluation of all three types of signals that CHAMP observed allows a complete and integrated modeling of the structure and dynamics of the Earth’s core and mantle. Such an improvement strongly enhances studies concerning ths structure and composition of the Earth’s interior and will open new application areas in geodesy, solid Earth physics, and oceanography.

CHAMP data will be supplemented from other, later, missions that measure Earth’s gravity field from space (GRACE, GOCE). CHAMP was a cooperative project between Germany and NASA, with NASA providing a GPS Blackjack Flight receiver built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Key Challenging Mini-satellite Payload Facts

Mission/Portal Page: http://science.nasa.gov/missions/champ/
Instruments: ASC (Advanced Stellar Compass)
DIDM (Digital Ion Drift Meter)
FGM (Fluxgate Magnetometer)
GPS TRSR-2 (Global Positioning System Receiver)
LRR (Laser Retro-Reflector)
OVM (Overhauser Magnetometer)
STAR Accelerometer Sensor

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Earth Surface and Interior

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How is the global Earth changing?