The CHAMP mission was proposed by Prof. Christoph Reigber, former Director of Division1 "Kinematics and Dynamics of the Earth" (now "Geodesy and Remote Sensing") of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences in 1994 in response to an initiative of the former German Space Agency DARA (now DLR) to support the space industry in the "New States" of the united Germany by financing a small satellite mission. In cooperation with the German Aerospace Center DLR and a group of space industry companies in East- and West-Germany the CHAMP mission feasibility, the final design of the mission and the system specifications were studied in two mission phases under the lead of GFZ.
In December 1996 the final decision to proceed into the implementation phase of the mission was made. This phase C/D, which includes the fabrication of the satellite, the integration of subsystems and instruments tests, the purchase of the launcher and launch services, the preparation of the mission operation and science data systems etc., started in January 1997 and ends with the launch of CHAMP
This phase will be followed by the exploitation phase E, starting July 2000 with the in-orbit-system verification and payload data calibration/validation and continuing with nominal operation and exploitation until the end of the mission after about 5 years.
The CHAMP mission was being implemented as an "80% Zuwendung (grant) Project", where the PI and his own institution - the GFZ Potsdam - was fully responsible for the success of the mission implementation and the money expenditures. In the case of CHAMP the remaining 20% of cost for the full mission implementation were shared by the GFZ and DLR research centers. DLR's responsibility as the German Space Agency was to control the grant expenditures and to review the project at major milestones.
During phase B of the mission preparation the following three agencies proposed to provide on a non-exchange of fund basis science instruments, under development or in an upgrade stage in their own laboratories
Memorandi of Understanding and Instrument Implementation Plans were signed between these agencies, the DLR and the GFZ respectively after the final decision on the project.
In 1997 GFZ Potsdam selected the Jena Optronic GmbH (DJO) in Jena - a firm of the DaimlerChrysler/Aerospace (now Astrium) - as main contractor for the fabrication, test and delivery of the CHAMP satellite. To perform its ambitious tasks and to make best use of existing expertise in satellite manufacturing, DJO formed an integrated industry team including expert teams of Astrium (the former Dornier Satellitensysteme GmbH, Friedrichshafen) and the RST Raumfahrt und Umweltschutz GmbH, Rostock. For the delivery of the launcher and the provision of the launch services a contract was given by GFZ to COSMOS International GmbH, a branch of the OHB Fuchs Group, Bremen. For technical management support to GFZ in the course of the implementation phase a contract was awarded to Eurospace GmbH, Flöha. Finally a cooperation agreement between DLR and GFZ was signed in 1998, defining the tasks and responsibilities of each of the cooperating partners.
In summary, the responsibilities during the implementation phase of the mission are as follows
The organisational structure of the CHAMP project for the time period after launch of the spacecraft is shown in the organization chart below: