The GFZ operates the satellite missions CHAMP and GRACE. They measure the magnetic field and the gravity field of the earth from a relatively low orbit. Additionally it determines the temperature distribution, the dampness and the pressure in troposphere and stratosphere as well as the electron density in the ionosphere. In March 2009 the follow-up project GOCE starts.
Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP)
The main goal of the German CHAMP satellite mission is the precise determination of the Earth's gravity and magnetic field since its launch mid 2000. In addition CHAMP also measures globally distributed temperature and water vapour data.
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment
GRACE is a joint project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR).
GOCE will map Earth's gravity field in unprecedented detail. From the data obtained, the GFZ - German Research Centre for Geosciences will calculate its own, high resolution gravity field. These data result in a model which became popular as the “Potsdam Gravity Potato”.