CHAMP (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) is a German small satellite mission for geoscientific and atmospheric research and applications, managed by GFZ. With its highly precise, multifunctional and complementary payload elements (magnetometer, accelerometer, star sensor, GPS receiver, laser retro reflector, ion drift meter) and its orbit characteristics (near polar, low altitude, long duration) CHAMP will generate for the first time simultaneously highly precise gravity and magnetic field measurements over a 5 years period. This will allow to detect besides the spatial variations of both fields also their variability with time. The CHAMP mission will open a new era in geopotential research and will become a significant contributor to the Decade of Geopotentials.
In addition with the radio occultation measurements onboard the spacecraft and the infrastructure developed on ground, CHAMP will become a pilot mission for the pre-operational use of space-borne GPS observations for atmospheric and ionospheric research and applications in weather prediction and space weather monitoring.