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KOMPSAT-3 (Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-3) / Arirang-3

Spacecraft    Launch    Mission Status    Sensor Complement    Ground Segment    References

KOMPSAT-3 is an optical high-resolution Korean observation mission of KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute). The mission is funded by MEST (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology). The project was started in 2004. The objective is to provide observation continuity from the KOMPSAT-1 and KOMPSAT-2 missions to meet the nation's needs for high-resolution optical imagery required for GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and other environmental, agricultural and oceanographic monitoring applications.

A further goal is to meet the nation's satellite demand and form a technology infrastructure that will make inroads into the world space industry at a stage when the industry is improving the capability to design and develop highly advanced remote sensing satellites.


Figure 1: Illustration of the KOMPSAT-3 spacecraft (image credit: KARI)


The KOMPSAT-3 spacecraft bus design, development and integration is being led at KARI. The spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized. The agile spacecraft features a body pointing capability of ±45º into any direction (cross-track or along-track). This satellite agility permits event monitoring as well as single-pass stereoscopic observations. 1) 2) 3)

SI (Satrec Initiative) of Daejeon participation in the KOMPSAT-3 development of KARI: 4) 5)

- SI provided the DM (Development Model) of power controller, and on-board computer processor module as well as six FM coarse sun sensors to KARI. Image Receiving and Processing Station and several key subsystems of Mission Control Station is currently being developed.

- SI developed OBC (On-Board Processor) module with reliable RTOS and high-end CPU. SI developed a space qualified processor module based on TSC695F CPU (ERC32).

- SI was contracted by KARI to develop PADS ( Precision Attitude Determination Software) of KOMPSAT-3. PADS is a software package which performs precision attitude determination by using precise orbit data and attitude sensor data (star trackers and gyros). This software estimates all sensitive parameters including misalignment angle between each sensor and optical bench, the drift rate error and scale factor error of each gyro and etc. PADS includes simulated sensor data generator, data analysis tools, validation tools as well as animation tools.

The KOMPSAT-3 SADM (Solar Array Deployment Mechanism) was the first flight hardware contract for SpaceTech GmbH of Immenstaad, Germany signed in 2005/2006 with Korean Airlines Ltd. The deployment mechanism is based on an earlier patented design by SpaceTech exhibiting very low friction, high torque margin and at the same time low deployment shock through a cam/spring driven system. The contract also included the delivery of stiffening mechanism for each of the solar arrays, to achieve a high eigenfrequency of the solar array wings in order to allow agile satellite operation/pointing. 6)

Spacecraft mass, power

~980 kg; 1.3 kW

Spacecraft size

3.5 m height, 2.0 m diameter

Spacecraft design life

4 years


3-axis stabilized

Table 1: Main parameters of the spacecraft

RF communications: The S-band is used for TT&C communications. The X-band is used to downlink the payload data.


Figure 2: System architecture of the KOMPSAT-3 mission (image credit: KARI)


Figure 3: Photo of the KARI KOMPSAT-3/Arirang-3 spacecraft at TNSC on May 1, 2012 (image credit: The Korea Herald)


Launch: The KOMPSAT-3 (Arirang-3) spacecraft was launched as a "co-payload" on May 17, 2012 (16:39 UTC) from the Tanegashima Space Center of JAXA, Japan on the H-IIA launch system. The primary payload on this flight was GCOM-W1 (Global Change Observation Mission - Water 1) of JAXA (nickname: Shizuku) with a launch mass of ~ 1990 kg. Launch provider: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. 7) 8) 9)

A contract between the launch service provider MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.) and KARI was signed in January 2009. This represents the first satellite launch services order placed to MHI by an overseas customer. 10)

Further secondary payloads are:

• SDS-4 (Small Demonstration Satellite-4) of JAXA with a mass of ~ 48 kg

• HORYU-2, a technology demonstration satellite mission of KIT (Kyushu Institute of Technology), Fukuoka, Japan with a mass of ~ 7 kg.


Figure 4: Schematic view of the payloads in the H-IIA launch vehicle (image credit: Mitsubishi) 11) 12)


Orbit: Sun-synchronous near-circular orbit, altitude = 685.1 km, inclination = 98.13º , period = 98.5 minutes, LTAN (Local Time on Ascending Node) = 13:30 hours.



Mission status:

• January 2019: The KOMPSAT-3/Arirang-3 mission is fully operational in its 7th year of service. SIIS (SI Imaging Services), a subsidiary of SI (Satrec Initiative), is the exclusive worldwide marketing and sales representative of the KOMPSAT series KOMPSAT-2, KOMPSAT-3, KOMPSAT-3A and KOMPSAT-5. 13)

• The KOMPSAT-3/Arirang-3 mission is operational in January 2017 in its 5th year on orbit. 14)


Figure 5: Sample KOMPSAT-3 image of Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates), acquired on April 26th, 2016 (image credit: SIIS, KARI)

• The KOMPSAT-3 spacecraft and its payload are operating nominally in 2016. 15)

• SIIS released the image of Figure 6 on Dec. 14, 2015 showing a portion of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. 16)


Figure 6: The KOMPSAT-3 AEISS instrument acquired this image (0.7 m resolution) of Manila on March 3, 2015 (image credit: SIIS, KARI)

• May 2015: The U.S. NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) provided an absolute geolocation accuracy evaluation for KOMPSAT-3 using 25 KOMPSAT-3 images provided by SI (Satrec-Initiative Co. Ltd.), Daejeon, Korea. The outcome is as follows: 17)

Test site

Image acquisition date


Mean ΔE (m)

Mean ΔN (m)

Δr (m)


26 Dec. 2013






14 Mar. 2013






20 Jan. 2014





Jomo Kenyatta

20 Jan. 2013





Karshi Khanabad

14 Jul. 2014






21 Jun. 2014






04 Feb. 2014





Masirah Island

13 Jul. 2014






24 Feb. 2013






26 Jun. 2014






17 Aug. 2014





Ninoy Aquino

21 Apr. 2014






02 Mar. 2013






23 Jul. 2014






03 Nov. 2014





Sidi Ahmed

30 May 2013













Standard Deviation
















Table 2: Geolocation accuracy results

The Horizontal Error 90% (HE90) is 13.3 meters.


Figure 7: KOMPSAT-3 absolute geolocation accuracy (image credit: NGA)

• The KOMPSAT-3 spacecraft and its payload are operating nominally in 2015. 18)

• The KOMPSAT-3 spacecraft and its payload are operating nominally in 2014. 19)

Cal/Val Phase (CVP)

Key item

Requirement value

Validated value


(Aug. 20-Dec. 31, 2012)



>> 100 (TDI 64)




Across: 8~10% (TDI 64)
Along: 6~8% (TDI 64)
> 19% (MS)

Strip imaging
Level 0


0.7 m(PAN), 2.8 m(MS)

0.7 m (PAN)

Strip & Nadir imaging

Pointing accuracy

1.2 km

Across:90 m, Along: 1 sec

Strip imaging

Location accuracy

70 m CE90

< 70 m CE90

With POD & PAD, Strip imaging


(Jan. 1-March 29, 2013)

MTF after MTFC

13%(PAN), 19%(MS)

> 20% (PAN)

Level 0


0.5pixel RMS (MS)

0.5pixel RMS (MS)

Strip imaging

Ortho-image accuracy

3.5 m CE90 (Horizontal)

3.5m CE90 (Horizontal)

Strip imaging

Table 3: Performance of KOMPSAT-3 after CVP (Cal/Val Phases) 20)


Figure 8: Geometric Cal/Val framework of KOMPSAT-3 (image credit: KARI) 21)


Figure 9: KOMPSAT-3 image of Rio de Janeiro Brazil with the Maracanã stadium acquired on April 16, 2013 and released on Jan. 03, 2014 (image credit: Satrec Initiative, KARI) 22)

Legend to Figure 9: The Maracanã stadium (official name: Estádio Mário Filho, Maracanã being its neighborhood's name) in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) is one of the biggest football stadiums in the world, and it is home of the four biggest football teams of Rio: Flamengo, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama and Fluminense.

• In July 2013, ScanEx RDC of Moscow, Russia, became the official distributor of the KOMPSAT data series in Russia and the CIS countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan), following the signing of an agreement with the Korean company Satrec Initiative Co., Ltd. 23)

• As of May 17, 2013, KOMPSAT-3 is 1 year on orbit. For the first year of operation, the performance of KOMPSAT-3 was validated, and the worldwide commercial service of KOMPSAT-3 imagery was started by SI (Satrec Initiative), since April 1, 2013. 24) 25)

- KOMPSAT-3 can provide sub-meter images with various imaging modes including single pass stereo. It will continue to provide sub-meter imagery to domestic and international users for the applications of public safety, resource management, environmental monitoring, location-based services, intelligence and disaster monitoring.


Figure 10: KOMPSAT-3 sample image capture of the Pentagon (image credit: Satrec Initiative, KARI)

April 8, 2013: KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) has announced the start of commercial services of KOMPSAT-3 after in-orbit validation on 29 March, 2013. Now, Satrec Initiative will distribute KOMPSAT-3 imagey on a world-wide basis. KOMPSAT-3 provides 0.7m panchromatic and 2.8m multispectral imagery. KOMPSAT-3 has a unique local access time of 13:30 hours, and the imaging capability in the afternoon will increase the chance of acquiring cloud-free images over specific targets for the end users. 26)


Figure 11: KOMPSAT-3 image ( 70 cm resolution) of San Diego, CA, USA acquired on March 2, 2013 (image credit: KARI)

• In January 2013, KOMPSAT-3 is still in the commissioning phase and should be operational soon. 27)


Figure 12: KOMSAT-3 test image of Niagara Falls, USA, Canada (image credit: KARI, Ref. 27)

In November 2012, KARI awarded SI (Satrec Initiative)of Daejeon, Korea a contract as the 'worldwide exclusive representative' for KOMPSAT imagery sales. This applies to imagery of the KOMPSAT-2, -3 and -5 missions. KARI has chosen Satrec Initiative for its ability to develop international customers and data distribution network, as well as long experience in space industry. Satrec Initiative will deliver high quality image data to worldwide customers through collaboration with existing satellite operators, and in addition to that, building its own KOMPSAT data distribution network. 28)


Figure 13: Image of the Burj Tower of Dubai, observed by KOMPSAT-3 in the fall of 2012 (image credit: KARI)

Legend to Figure 13: With 829.8 m, the Burj Tower is he tallest man-made structure in the world. The building officially opened on January 4, 2010.


Figure 14: Image of San Francisco acquired by KOMPSAT-3 on August 10, 2012 prior to Cal/Val (image credit: KARI)

• On June 15, 2012, KARI released the first image obtained by KOMPSAT-3 (Figure 15). A check-up of the condition, attitude control systems, and on-board equipment has confirmed that the KOMPSAT-3 is functioning normally. KOMPSAT-3 will be scheduled to start its full operation in September after further inspection of the satellite and its payloads. 29)


Figure 15: Comparison of an image scene observed by AEISS on KOMPSAT-3 (right) and observed by MSC on KOMPSAT-2 (left), image credit: KARI

Legend to Figure 15: The image scene is of Jeodong Port on Ulleungdo Island, Korea. The KOMPSAT-3 image (right) clearly shows the roofs of the buildings, cars on the road, and the ships and tide breakers along the shore.

• After the separation of KOMPSAT-3 spacecraft at 16 minutes into the flight, the GCOM-W1 spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle 23 minutes after launch (Ref. 12).


Some background on the KOMPSAT imagery distribution: In November 2012, Satrec Initiative (SI) of Daejeon, Korea announced an agreement with KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) for "Worldwide Marketing and Sales Representative of KOMPSAT-2, -3, -3A and -5 image data." KARI assigned Satrec Initiative as the ‘worldwide exclusive representative' for KOMPSAT imagery sales. 30)

In response, the SI (Satrec Initiative Group) started a new company, SIIS (SI Imaging Services).The SIIS facilities are located at KARI. SIIS is the satellite imagery provider for Remote Sensing and Earth Observation. SIIS is the exclusive worldwide marketing and sales representative of the KOMPSAT series which is KOMPSAT-2, -3, -3A, -5 and DubaiSat-2. The DubaiSat-2 spacecraft was developed by SI in cooperation with MBRSC (Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center), Dubai, UAE (United Arib Emirates), formerly EIAST (Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology). On April 18, 2015, EIAST was officially renamed to MBRSC. 31)



Sensor complement: (AEISS)

AEISS (Advanced Earth Imaging Sensor System)

AEISS is a high-resolution pushbroom imager (Pan and MS) for land applications of cartography and disaster monitoring. The prime instrument of the mission is being developed by KARI with technical support from EADS Astrium GmbH, Friedrichshafen. In turn, DLR was subcontracted by Astrium for the development of the FPA (Focal Plane Assembly) and CEU (Camera Electronics Unit). 32) 33) 34) 35)

There are two major subsystems to AEISS: EOS and the OM (Optical Module) with the telescope.


Figure 16: Schematic view of the EOS configuration (image credit: KARI)

EOS (Electro-Optical Subsystem):

The EOS architecture of AEISS is comprised of the following modules: OM (Optical Module) and CEU which in turn consists of the CEUP (CEU Power supply), CC (Camera Controller), and FPA (Figure 16). The CEUP and CC modules are actually part of the spacecraft bus, while the FPA is integrated with OM to constitute EOS.

The FPA design features a modular and scalable architecture; it has a total of six independent FPMs (Focal Plane Modules) in a stacking configuration, 2 are dedicated for the Pan bands and 4 are used for the MS bands. One Pan module operates as primary while and the other is used as a cold redundant module. Each FPM consists of a CCD module and spectral filters and FPE (Focal Plane Electronics).


Figure 17: Stacking configuration of the six FPMs (image credit: KARI, DLR)

EOS features also a focus mechanism for the best focusing and combined active/passive thermal control mechanism to take images at the best temperature condition. The focusing control is performed using the displacement of the heater ring attached on the upper and lower side of the telescope by heating one of two rings, thereby expecting downward or upward movement of the corresponding secondary mirror.

The imagery generated in EOS are transferred to the PDTS (Payload Data Transmission Subsystem) to be downlinked to Ground Station (GS) after compression, encryption, etc.


Figure 18: Photo of the FPA (view from the sensor/baffle side), image credit: DLR 36)

Spectral bands

450-900 nm Pan (Panchromatic)
450-520 nm MS1 (Multispectral), blue
520-600 nm MS2, green
630-690 nm MS3, red
760-900 nm MS4, NIR (Near Infrared)


- Korsch-type telescope design on a CFRP optical bench
- 80 cm diameter of primary mirror aperture (the mirror is lightweighted)
- All mirrors (5) are of Zerodur design
- Focal length = 8.6 m
- F number = f/12

GSD (Ground Sample Distance)

- 0.7 m for Pan band at nadir
- 2.8 m for MS bands at nadir

Swath width

15 km (at nadir)

Tilt angle

Roll: ±45º, pitch: ±30º

Location accuracy

< 48.5 m CE90

Pan CCD detector module

- Line array of 24,000 pixels consisting of 2 stacks of 12 k pixels each
- TDI (Time Delay Integration), up to 64 TDI in 4 stages
- Pixel pitch = 8.75 µm
- Source data rate = 16 x 15 Mpixel/s (or 3.84 Gbit/s)

MS CCD detector module

- Line array of 6,000 pixels, provision of 8 stacks, TDI capability
- Pixel pitch = 2 x 17.5 µm
- Binning of MS pixels (MS pixels are 4 times longer than Pan pixels)
- Source data rate = 4 x 240 Mbit/s



PRNU (Photo Response Non-Uniformity)


DSNU (Dark Signal Non-Uniformity)


SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio)

> 100 for Pan and MS

Data quantization

14 bit

Data compression

CCSDS 120.1-G-1E

Payload data memory

512 Gbit

Data rate

1 GB/s

Instrument mass, power


Table 4: Performance parameters of the AEISS instrument

CEU (Camera Electronics Unit): The CEU manages the overall operation of EOS; hence, it defines the functionality and operational capabilities of EOS which implies also the performance of the FPA. The CEU architecture is shown in Figure 19. The CC (Camera Control) unit of CEU communicates with the spacecraft OBC via a MIL-STD-1553B interface.


Figure 19: Logical block diagram of the CEU architecture (image credit: DLR, KARI)


Optical design of the Korsch-type telescope:

The large telescope of AEISS features a CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) envelope material to achieve the required low-mass structure with high stiffness and dimensional stability. Throughout the launch phase and under variable on-orbit conditions, the instrument has to keep the following optical elements in place within tolerances of a few µm and µrad (Table 6): 5 mirrors, the FPA (Focal Plane Assembly) with 1 panchromatic and 4 multispectral bands, and two Star Trackers.

The development, manufacturing and testing under various load conditions (including thermal cycling) of the HSTS (High Stability Telescope Structure) was done and verified by EADS Astrium. 37)


Figure 20: Illustration of the AEISS telescope with EOS and star trackers (image credit: KARI, EADS Astrium)

Envelope of structure

< Ø 1.3 m x 2.1 m

Mass of camera structure

< 80 kg

First natural frequency

> 70 Hz

Design load (quasi static)

15 g per axis

In-orbit environmental temperatures

-10ºC ~ +45ºC

Qualification temperatures

-15ºC ~ +55ºC

Table 5: Main requirements for HSTS

SESO (Société Européenne de Systèmes Optiques) of Aix en Provence, France was awarded a subcontract for the manufacturing of the whole set of telescope mirrors (5 mirrors, 2 flight models). SESO activities did also include the mechanical design, manufacturing and mounting of the attachment flexures between the mirrors, the integration on the CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics) baseplates, and the environment tests of the 5 mirrors. 38)

The optical design features a Korsch-type telescope with 5 mirrors, as presented in Figure 21. It includes:

• An on-axis Cassegrain telescope with a primary mirror (M1 concave) and a secondary mirror (M2 convex)

• A tertiary off-axis mirror (M3 concave off-axis)

• An on-axis M4 aspherical concave mirror

• A folding flat mirror (M5), for reasons of overall volume limitations.


Figure 21: Cross-section of the optical system (image credit: SESO)

Optical element


Accuracy requirement

M1 (Mirror 1)

Distance to M2

3 µm
10 µm
5 µrad


Distance to M3

10 µm
8 µm
10 µrad


Distance to M4

10 µm
20 µm
50 µrad


Distance to Focal Plane

10 µm
50 µm
100 µrad


Distance to Focal Plane

10 µm
100 µrad

Star Tracker


87 µrad

Table 6: In-orbit stability requirements of HSTS

The use of CFRP, especially the selection of UHM (Ultra High Modulus) carbon fiber compounds, offer the possibility to build up laminates with CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) characteristics close to zero or even with a negative CTE. A CTE of zero fits well with mirrors made of Zerodur, so that the telescope becomes insensitive not only against temperature changes, but also against temperature gradients.


Figure 22: Configuration of the AEISS optical system (image credit: KARI, EADS Astrium)


Figure 23: Alternate view of the AEISS optical system (image credit: KARI, EADS Astrium)

AEISS pre-flight calibration: A LUIS (Large Uniform Light Source) was used for the electro-optical tests of the payload such as signal to noise ratio, linearity, saturation and uniformity of radiometric response. The uniform light source provides known radiance levels with absolute accuracy traceable to the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technologies) or equivalent primary standards of radiance scale. 39)

Parameter / Mission





Launch date

Dec. 20, 1999

July 28, 2006

May 17, 2012

August 22, 2013

Main payload

EOC (Electro Optical Camera)

MSC (Multispectral Camera)

AEISS (Advanced Earth Imaging Sensor System)

COSI (Corea SAR Instrument), X-band

Resolution/swath width

6.6 m (Pan)
17 km

1 m (Pan) / 15 km
4 m (4 x MS) / 15 km

0.7 m (Pan) / 16.8 km
2.8 m (4 x MS) / 16.8 km

1 m / 5 km
3 m /30 km
20 m / 100 km

Orbital altitude

685 km

685 km

685 km

550 km


10:50 hours

10:50 hours

13:30 hours

6:00 hours

Spacecraft design life

3 years

3 years

4 years

5 years

Spacecraft mass

470 kg

770 kg

980 kg

1400 kg

Spacecraft power

636 W

1.0 kW

1.3 kW

1.4 kW

Table 7: Performance parameters of the KOMPSAT missions 40)


Figure 24: KOMPSAT series comparison (image credit: KARI)



Ground segment:

The ground segment at KARI site comprises two elements:

1) MCE (Mission and Control Element). The MCE provides the mission planning and satellite command, control functions that allow the operators to perform the mission, and maintain the health of the satellite. The MCE provides the S-band command and telemetry communications interface to the satellite and the necessary functions to operate the satellite.

2) IRPE (Image Reception and Processing Element). The IRPE provides the capability to receive and store KOMPSAT-3 data, support to collection planning, generate standard and value added imagery products, and distribute imagery products to users. The IRPE provides the X-band reception interface from the satellite.

SI developed the IRPS (Image Reception and Processing Station). The IRPS consists of four subsystems;

• UIS (User Interface Subsystem)

• ICPS (Image Collection Planning Subsystem)

• DIS (Direct Ingestion Subsystem)

• PMS (Product Management Subsystem).

The UIS is to process ‘Product Order' of the External User. It virtualizes a convenient operator interface to manage orders from the end-users and the end-user interface such as catalog searching, order placing, order status monitoring and product download.



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18) Information provided by Sungdong Park, CEO & Managing Director of SI (Satrec Initiative Co. Ltd.), Daejeon, Korea.

19) "KOMPSAT Imagery, benefits to our community," SIIS (SI Imaing Services), April 14, 2014, URL:

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34) "KOMPSAT-3 Image Data Manual," KARI, Satrec Initiative, V1.0/ 2013.04.01, URL:

35) KOMPSAT-3 Submeter in the afternoon," SI, URL:


37) Deog-Gyu Lee, Eung-Shik Lee, Su-Young Chang, Andreas Kasemann, Dietmar Scheulen, Tom Butters, "The development of a dimensionally stable CFRP camera structure," Proceedings of the 60th IAC (International Astronautical Congress), Daejeon, Korea, Oct. 12-16, 2009, IAC-09.C2.2.1

38) Hélène Ducollet, Christian du Jeu, Seung-Hoon Lee, "Manufacturing of the Spaceborne Camera Mirrors for KARI's LEO Satellite," ICSO 2010 (International Conference on Space Optics), Rhodes Island, Greece, Oct. 4-8, 2010

39) Vikrant Mahajan, Dae-Jun Jung,, "Design and Characterization of Uniform Spectral Radiance source for test and calibration of radiometers used for KOPMSAT-3," SPIE Proceedings Volume 6958, 'Sensors and Systems for Space Applications II,' Editors: Richard T. Howard, Pejmun Motaghedi, May 2008, URL:

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The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (

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