On-orbit radiometric characterization of the multispectral (MS) imagery of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)’s Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-3A (KOMPSAT-3A), which was launched on 25 March 2015, was conducted to provide quantitative radiometric information about KOMPSAT-3A. During the in-orbit test (IOT), vicarious radiometric calibration of KOMPSAT-3A was performed using the Second Simulation of a Satellite Signal in the Solar Spectrum (6S) radiative transfer model. The characteristics of radiometric tarps, the atmospheric optical depth from multi-filter rotating shadowband radiometer (MFRSR) measurements, and sun–sensor–geometry were carefully considered, in order to calculate the exact top of atmosphere (TOA) radiance received by KOMPSAT-3A MS bands. In addition, the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) behaviors of the radiometric tarps were measured in the laboratory with a two-dimensional hyperspectral gonioradiometer, to compensate for the geometry discrepancy between the satellite and the ASD FieldSpec®
3 spectroradiometer. The match-up datasets between the TOA radiance and the digital number (DN) from KOMPSAT-3A were used to determine DN-to-radiance conversion factors, based on linear least squares fitting for two field campaigns. The final results showed that the R2
values between the observed and simulated radiances for the blue, green, red, and near-infrared (NIR) bands, are greater than 0.998. An approximate error budget analysis for the vicarious calibration of KOMPSAT-3A showed an error of less than 6.8%. When applying the laboratory-based BRDF correction to the case of higher viewing zenith angle geometry, the gain ratio was improved, particularly for the blue (1.3%) and green (1.2%) bands, which exhibit high sensitivity to the BRDF of radiometric tarps during the backward-scattering phase. The calculated gain ratio between the first and second campaigns showed a less than 5% discrepancy, indicating that the determined radiometric characteristics of KOMPSAT-3A are reliable and useful to the user group for quantitative applications.
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