Space imaging systems are designed to gather information from vantage points not accessible on Earth. Some systems are designed to look back at the Earth to help us understand our planet better while others are designed to explore the vast universe around us. The diversity of applications between the space imaging systems ensures a new set of engineering challenges with each camera design. The cameras integrated into each space system are designed to meet specific image requirements, but the measure of image quality may be very different depending on the application. For example, Earth-imaging satellites designed for monitoring weather phenomena require high radiometric fidelity whereas Earth-imaging satellites designed for monitoring world events require high spatial resolution for clear visual interpretability. Image chain analysis is used to understand the image formation properties of novel designs and to better understand design trades. Image chain analysis has become an important image science tool for assessing and optimizing image quality in space imaging programs.
Robert D. Fiete, "Image Chain Analysis for Space Imaging Systems" in Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, 2007, pp 103 - 109, https://doi.org/10.2352/J.ImagingSci.Technol.(2007)51:2(103)