Contact: Rosemary Sullivant (818) 354-0474

A German scientific satellite launched this week carries an
instrument designed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, Calif. Officials report that the Challenging
Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) and its instruments are working
well five days after the successful launch. CHAMP was one of
three European satellites launched from Plesetsk in northern
Russia on July 15. It is on a five-year mission for geophysical
and atmospheric studies.

Under a 1997 memorandum of understanding between NASA and
the German Aerospace Center (DLR), JPL contributed an instrument,
a “BlackJack” Global Positioning System (GPS) flight receiver,
that will be used in several ways. GPS data from the instrument’s
upward pointed antenna will be used to determine the satellite’s
orbit precisely in order to improve our knowledge of Earth’s
gravity field. Data from a second antenna pointed to Earth’s
horizon will be used to make precise measurements of atmospheric
temperature, pressure and moisture for studies of climate change.
Finally, GPS data from a third antenna pointed straight down will
allow scientists to test the possibility of using reflected GPS
data to acquire information about ocean height and sea-surface

CHAMP is managed by the GeoForschungsZentrum (Earth Research
Center) of Potsdam, Germany. NASA is one of three international
partners on the mission. The others are the Centre National des
…tudes Spatiales (CNES), France, and the U.S. Air Force Research

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena.