Space Weather Web Server

Increased Orbital Drag

The temperature, composition, and horizontal winds in the Earth's atmosphere at orbital altitudes above 120 km are all influenced by variations of solar and geomagnetic activity.

For LEO satellites gravitational perturbations due to the non-uniform mass distribution of the Earth dominates the perturbation spectrum. Atmospheric drag is due to high solar activity (geomagnetic storms) that may heat up and expand the atmosphere.

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