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National Science Foundation HomeNational Science Foundation - Directorate for Geological Sciences (GEO)
Polar Programs (PLR)
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Office of Polar Programs
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U.S. Antarctic Program review
U.S. Antarctic Program Seminal Documents
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bullet U.S. Policy
bullet Policy analyses
bullet Infrastructure and Logistics
bullet Research Goals and Accomplishments
bullet Future Directions for Antarctic Science
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Antarctic Sciences (ANT)
Arctic Sciences (ARC)
Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL)
Office of Polar Environment, Health and Safety (PEHS)
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Infrastructure and Logistics

  1. United States Antarctic Program—Study Report for Office of Management and Budget.  National Science Foundation.152p.  1 May 1972. After issuing Circular A-51 (see U.S. Policy, above) OMB asked the Foundation to examine DOD support costs and alternatives, sensitivity of support costs to changes in the research mix, and six related issues.  NSF concluded that DOD and DOT costs generally were reasonable and that a one-time investment of $7-million would save $5-million a year.  The report also discussed other topics.

  2. Safety in Antarctica: Report of the U.S. Antarctic Program Safety Review Panel.  National Science Foundation (NSF 88-78). 155p.  1988.  The deaths of two employees in a 24 November 1986 hiking accident near McMurdo triggered this study by seven non-NSF experts of whom astronaut Russell L. Schweickart was chair.  The report has 72 recommendations in management, health and medical care, accident prevention and policies, communications, science field parties, survival and search and rescue, environment and energy, nongovernmental activity, air operations, and occupational safety.

  3. Implementing Science in the Polar Regions. Advisory Committee, Division of Polar Programs, NSF. 45p + appendixes.  1992.  Susan Solomon, NOAA, chaired the advisory committee and this study, which suggests ways to implement the “ambitious set of goals” described in the 1990 report.  It recommends a strong and effective core science program, improved transportation, better cargo tracking, a management system for the new McMurdo laboratory, and high quality voice and data communications.  “The goals and methods of the individual investigator are becoming more technically complex and more difficult to achieve within traditional frameworks for science support.  The importance of polar regions in phenomena including global change, analogs for extraterrestrial environments, and biological diversity is increasingly evident.”

  4. Logistics Recommendations for an Improved U.S. Arctic Research Capability, by U.S. Arctic Research Commission.  viii + 88 p.  1997. At the time of this report, many areas of the Arctic were not accessible to researchers year-round, and many logistics assets needed replacement. The report surveyed needs and found consensus that scientists would benefit from improved access to research sites, increased development and use of autonomous instruments, greater attention to health and safety, assistance with involving local communities, and better international coordination. 

  5. Arctic Research Support and Logistics: Strategies and Recommendations for System-scale Studies in a Changing Environment, by U.S. Arctic Research Commission.  xii + 81 p.  2003.  The need to monitor change, to understand its causes and links to the global system, and to fill knowledge gaps has led to a need for large-scale, long-term observations, system-scale synthesis, and modeling – in short, a pan-arctic observing network. But sustaining traditional logistics also remains paramount, because it underpins arctic research. A range of support and logistics is needed for development of a pan-arctic perspective, for supporting the basic infrastructure, and for maximizing resources and cooperation.

  6. McMurdo Station Long-Range Development Plan, by DMJM Design.  Numerous pages.  June 2003.  The document updates a 1995-1996 plan to describe station design objectives, guide development, consolidate or eliminate dysfunctional facilities, estimate costs, and schedule implementation.  It identifies 12 priority-1 (immediate need) projects costing an estimated $62.6-million, 11 priority-2 projects, and 11 priority-3 projects.  McMurdo, the world’s southernmost seaport and Antarctica’s largest human settlement, is critical to the U.S. Antarctic Program, providing research support, repair, waste management, housing, communications, medical care, warehousing, and logistics to – and throughout much of – Antarctica.

  7. Housing and Warehouse Facilities at McMurdo Station Antarctica. 11 p.  November 2003.  This NSF report responds to House Committee on Appropriations Report 107-740 noting the need to upgrade living and indoor storage facilities at McMurdo.

  8. Future of the Next Generation Satellite Fleet and the McMurdo Ground Station, by Antarctic Meteorological Research Center, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  34 p.  31 May 2004.  New satellites offer increased capabilities, but require X-band receiving equipment. The existing McMurdo Ground Station X-band system could be used, but other systems should be considered. This document reports Antarctic science and operations recommendations regarding next-generation satellites along with applications and reception possibilities with a focus on the McMurdo Ground Station. Other recommendations concern related communications issues.

  9. National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System is the next generation of low-earth-orbiting environmental satellites, circling Earth every hundred minutes to provide global coverage of weather, atmosphere, oceans, land, and near-space.  NSF and NOAA are working to optimize utility of the system for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

  10. Polar Science and Advanced NetworkingNetworked computers are useful in field research, but the Internet does not easily reach polar regions.  This 2003 60-page workshop report by polar scientists and network engineers finds that existing technologies can help solve common problems. It recommends that, while NSF should keep trying for more bandwidth, innovative approaches can make best use of what’s there now.

  11. South Pole Connectivity RFI Evaluation and Recommendation, Raytheon Technical Services Company, 192 p.  26 June 2003.  The Iridium commercial satellite system appears able to provide South Pole with reliable and low-cost full-time broadband, but the future of Iridium past 2013 is not established.  Eleven recommendations are woven into a 4-year plan leading to a decision for a non-Iridium solution.

  12. South Pole Connectivity RFI Evaluation and Recommendation, Raytheon Technical Services Company, Addendum 1.  8 p.  26 June 2003.  Boeing and Iridium are studying the feasibility of 24 x 7 T1 voice and data to South Pole Station.

  13. South Pole Broadband Preliminary Feasibility Study, WFN Strategies, 72 p. + appendixes.  18 April 2008.  A submarine cable between New Zealand and McMurdo and an onward terrestrial link to South Pole might cost less and last longer than three dedicated satellites. For the link between McMurdo and South Pole, fiber optic cable, microwave radio, and tropospheric scatter radio were considered.  Microwave was found to merit further study.  Additional knowledge of ice movement and cable behavior would allow the engineering of a fiber optic cable system.  A plan for further study is provided.

  14. Report of the Subcommittee on U.S. Antarctic Program Resupply. Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee.  85 p.  2005.  OPP asked the Advisory Committee to analyze resupply alternatives.  A six-person subcommittee reported that Antarctic logistics are near their practical limits and that it is time for a paradigm shift.  It recommended a systems approach to Antarctic icebreaking to alleviate the single failure point inherent in the current mode and to reduce costs; a wheeled-aircraft runway at South Pole; a blue-ice runway on the plateau; continued development of ground transport; leaner McMurdo functions; and examination of commercial models, heavy-lift capability, and lighter-than-air technologies.

  15. Polar Icebreakers in a Changing World: An Assessment of U.S. Needs, by the Committee on the Assessment of U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Roles and Future Needs.  National Academies Press.  xii + 122 p.  2007.  The 15-person committee chaired by Anita K. Jones, University of Virginia, states that U.S. icebreaking capability is at risk of being unable to support National interests and that a Presidential Decision Directive should be issued to align agency responsibilities and budgetary authorities.

  16. U.S. South Pole Station.  2009.  This NSF web site describes the new station dedicated in 2008 and reviews the earlier U.S. stations opened in 1956 and 1975.

  17. Optimization of South Pole Operations, Raytheon Polar Services.  218 p.  August 2007.  A workshop identified issues, outlined a strategic plan, and set goals to streamline each functional area. It yielded insights on interactions needed across the U.S. Antarctic Program as well as at South Pole itself, and it broadened appreciation of what it takes to maintain safe and reliable operational support.

  18. McMurdo Facilities Energy Study, RSA Engineering, Inc.  48 p.  24 April 2008.  An energy audit identified and analyzed energy efficiency and modernization measures.  These recommendations require site verification and detailed design before equipment is ordered.

  19. Analysis of the Use of Wind Energy to Supplement the Power Needs at McMurdo Station and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica.  National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Report No. TP-500-37504, 44 p.  2005.  This initial analysis indicates that a large potential savings could be realized by incorporating wind energy into the existing diesel plants at the South Pole Station. The economic impact of using wind power at McMurdo is not as extreme, but it is cost effective and would significantly reduce diesel fuel consumption.

  20. Status of Wind-Diesel Applications in Arctic Climates.  National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Report No. NREL/CP-500-42401.  17 p.  December 2007.  This paper summarizes wind-diesel systems in cold climates, discusses current research, and addresses technical and commercial challenges. The market for adding wind to isolated diesel minigrids is substantial in arctic climates and on islands that rely on diesel-only power generation.
      
  21. Antarctic Infrastructure & Logistics Active MOAs and Interagency Support Agreements.  3 p.  4 May 2009.  The paper, prepared by the Office of Polar Programs, NSF, lists and describes 14 general agreements, 12 project-specific agreements, and 6 other agreements.  It is not comprehensive.

  22. New Generation Polar Research Vessel Forum.  The NSF contract for the existing research icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer ends in 2012.  This web forum gathers comments from scientists, technicians, operators, and managers to help develop and organize science and technical requirements for a replacement ship.  Two science workshops and eight technical studies have provided initial guidance. In 2006, the Antarctic Research Vessel Oversight Committee completed their assessment based on the two science workshops, town hall meetings, technical studies, and engineering information and compiled a final report, Advancing U.S. Polar Research through the Acquisition of a New Polar Research Icebreaker — A Report from the Antarctic Research Vessel Oversight Committee, June 2006.

  23. Charter for an Ice Capable Antarctic Research & Supply Vessel.  Raytheon is soliciting proposals for an ice-capable vessel succeeding Laurence M. Gould to support U.S. Antarctic Program oceanography and logistics in the Southern Ocean around the Antarctic Peninsula for 5 years with options for another 5 years.

  24. Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet, 107 p.  2009.  Of the five recommendations in this NRC report, one is that the NSF Division of Ocean Sciences, the NSF Office of Polar Programs, and the U.S. Coast Guard should improve coordination of ship operations and support between the UNOLS and polar research fleets.

  25. Antarctic Support Contract Reading Room and Video.  This site contains a range of documents pertinent to tasks of the U.S. Antarctic Program support contractor:  general management, logistics, station and ship operations, NSF proposal and award information, science support, IT and communication, facilities, engineering and construction, environment health & safety, and project planning forms.

 

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