International polar foundation

International Polar Foundation

 

 

Connecting an outpost in Antarctica

Industry
Government and Institutions

Location
Antarctica

Client
The International Polar Foundation (IPF) communicates and educates on polar science and polar research as a way to understand key environmental and climate mechanisms.

Challenges

The IPF wanted to establish a new polar station in Antarctica to support research programmes.

Scope
Satellite communication is key for scientists carrying out research projects at the Antarctica station, and it allows remote control of the station during the Antarctic winter when the station is unmanned.

Solution
Supporting the project as part of our Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, SES provides satellite capacity, and also designed and implemented the satellite communications infrastructure in Antarctica, as well as a counter hub station in the UK.

A 4.8m C-band fixed antenna and data/RF equipment was installed at the station, and a counter station in the UK was implemented to receive all data transmitted from Antarctica and to feed it to scientists around the world via the Internet.

As support from outside of Antarctica was quite limited due to irregular flight connections, SES had to preinstall all equipment at the Luxembourg headquarters and to reflect the final installation as far as possible (satellite link, Internet connections, link fades, etc). during the tests. The link budget was also based only on the technical specifications as no link was ever done before from and to that area and actual satellite test data was not available.

Despite the logistical and technical challenges the first Internet connections were successfully established within a week, allowing scientists to carry out their research work.