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Earth observation by Satellite Missions

Die Satellitenmissionen CHAMP, GRACE und GOCE
The gravity field satellite missions CHAMP, GRACE and GOCE. <br>Sources: DLR, ESA, JPL (modified).

The Institute of Geodesy has been working on satellite-based gravity data for years. The spectrum of activities ranges from the calculation of regional (and global) gravity field solutions to extensive data analysis and studies of geophysical phenomena such as permafrost in Siberia or present-day mass variations in Fennoscandia.

The gravity field satellite mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) is being investigated at system level, and in-orbit measurements are analyzed. Data from the GRACE mission is included in the regional gravity field determination as well as used for studying, e.g., permafrost in Siberia.

Within the framework of the GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) mission, most of the work at the Institute of Geodesy is related to calibration and validation procedures, and combination of GOCE data with terrestrial gravity measurements.

Projects in the area of satellite missions

The current projects and current research topics in the field of satellite missions, see the following link.

GOCE Mission


As part of the REAL GOCE project, methods for validation and calibration of GOCE gradients are investigated at IfE. On the one hand, methods are developed and applied where gradients are checked in satellite altitude, such as the comparison of gradients in satellite track crossovers. On the other hand, terrestrial gravity measurements and deflections of the vertical are used for the quality assessment of GOCE‑based gravity field models as well as for the combination with GOCE gradients.

Future Missions

The Future Missions project has the goal to develop new concepts for future gravity field satellite missions. Work at IfE concentrates on the analysis of sensors for future mission concepts, the determination of a realistic error budget of the entire system, and the development of appropriate evaluation procedures.