CHAMP (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) was 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 generated highly precise gravity and magnetic field measurements simultaneously for the first time and over a 10 years period. The measurements include both the spatial and temporal variations of the two fields. The CHAMP mission has opened a new era in geopotential research and has become a significant contributor to the International Decade of Geopotential Research declared by IAGA in 1997.
In addition to the radio occultation measurements onboard the spacecraft and the infrastructure developed on ground, CHAMP became 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.
The CHAMP mission ended on September 19 2010, after ten years, two month and four days, or after 58277 orbits.