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Section 1.2 has four main topics:
Development, operation and analysis of gravity field satellite missions
The shape of our planet deviates substantially from an ideal sphere in many ways. First of all, the Earth is roughly an ellipsoid because of its rotation, bulged at the equator and flattened at the poles. Additionally, high mountains on the continents and deep valleys in the oceans crumple its surface. More interesting from a geoscientific point of view, however, are the spatial and temporal variations of the Earth's gravitational field that produce additional deviations from the ideal sphere.
Terrestrial and Airborne Gravimetry
Terrestrial gravimetry has a long tradition on the Telegraphenberg hill in Potsdam, where the former Geodetic Institute started to carry out pendulum and gravimeter measurements more than 100 years ago. Today in our Section 1.2 at GFZ we apply two modern gravimetric techniques: Superconducting and Airborne Gravimetry.
Earth System Parameters and Orbit Dynamics
Typical Earth system parameters are parameters which describe the Earth's geometrical and physical shape (ground station coordinates or gravity field spherical harmonic coefficients) and its orientation in space (Earth orientation parameters (EOP)). We estimate these Earth system parameters based on observations of satellite orbit dynamics.