KOMPSAT-3A is Korea's first Earth observation/Infrared satellite with two imaging systems on board. The main goal of the KOMPSAT-3A program of KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) is to develop an Earth observation satellite to obtain IR (Infrared) and high resolution EO (Electro-Optical) images for GIS (Geographical Information Systems) applications in environmental, agricultural and oceanographic sciences as well as natural disasters.
The high-resolution electronic optical camera AEISS-A features 55cm class optical photography, which is the highest resolution among cameras mounted on domestic satellites. The IR sensor, which is capable of detecting heat on the ground, is used to observe fires, volcanic activity and urban thermal islands during day- and nighttime. Arirang-3A operates in the sun's synchronous orbit at an altitude of 528 km and passes over Korea twice (day and night), photographing the Korean Peninsula for up to 50 minutes each day.