Champ (Challenging Mini-Satellite Payload) is a geo-scientific mission designed to measure the gravitational and magnetic fields of the Earth.
The mission, which was launched on 15 May 2000 by a Russian Cosmos rocket from Plesetsk (Russia), is providing new data on the composition, structure and dynamics of the blue planet, its oceans and atmosphere, and the surrounding envelope of charged particles and magnetic fields. The satellite was constructed under the industrial lead of Jena Optronik, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space.
The satellite orbits at a low-altitude in order to obtain optimum resolution of the Earth’s main field and the static crustal field. A new method of radio occultation measurements gained by limb-sounding between the low-flying Champ satellite and a high-flying GPS (Global Positioning System) spacecraft is employed for atmosphere/ionosphere investigations.