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I need to know if there's any relationship between the drag force of any point in LEO with the quantity of particles or something like that that are flying in the air that makes quality of the satellite imagery worse.

Can the drag force or the atmospheric density modify the quality of satellite imagery?

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  • $\begingroup$ This likely needs clarification, as i don't know what atmospheric effects at orbital altitudes would affect the process of taking pictures. If there are enough atoms to affect instruments your satellite is not going to stay in orbit long at all. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    Oct 1 '16 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ Try looking at space.stackexchange.com/q/18223/4660. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    Oct 1 '16 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for that link, but I know the answer to that question. I used CHAMP measurements (from 2000 to 2010) I'm asking about the QUALITY of the images. I mean, maybe someone can tell me "higher atmospheric density means more particles below the satellites and that means a lower quality in the photos" $\endgroup$
    – Unnamed
    Oct 1 '16 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Well, i was going to list How serious a problem can outgassing of satellites be? because it discussing how gasses from other satellites in a launch can affect instruments, but that is a lot more gas than there is in orbit. That is why i'm not sure about your wording here. If there is enough drag force or atmospheric density to affect imagery, your satellite is going to crash soon. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    Oct 2 '16 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ And what effects do you think that can make satellite imagery to be worse? I don't care if the satellites falls, I just need nice photos haha $\endgroup$
    – Unnamed
    Oct 2 '16 at 0:35
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Flying lower means a smaller portion of the atmosphere is below your satellite. If anything, image quality would be better. But as @pericynthion commented, the amount of atmosphere at these altitudes is too little to matter for image quality.

The only potential problem is turbulence causing your satellite to vibrate, but by the time that's a problem you're hours away from reentry (i.e. way too low to be in a usable orbit).

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    $\begingroup$ Can that really be a significant fraction of the atmosphere in the case of a satellite? This is why i asked the OP for clarification, thinking maybe they are referring to a cubesat only meant to last for a few hours, however even in that case it didn't seem to me that the difference would be enough to have a bearing on image quality. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    Oct 2 '16 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ @kimholder Indeed - the portion of the atmosphere between e.g. 130 km (below which no satellite could complete even one orbit) and any higher operational altitude of one's choice contributes entirely negligible opacity and seeing. $\endgroup$ Oct 2 '16 at 20:28

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