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Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL)

Special Announcments
USAP Blue Ribbon Panel report

2/18/16 - Restrictions for use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the United States Antarctic Program

NSF Point of Contact: Timothy M. McGovern, Ocean Projects Manager, Office of Polar Programs, Phone: 703-292-4248

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USAP Blue Ribbon Panel report

U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel Report:
More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness

NSF Response to the USAP Blue Ribbon Panel Report

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Antarctic News
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divider line web site banner United States Antarctic Program Web Portal — Visit the USAP portal for information on U.S. program activities.
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Antarctic Stations

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The U.S. Antarctic Program, Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics Section, operates three year-round stations—McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole, and Palmer stations. Camps operate only in summer to support field research. Automated geophysical observatories and more than 100 automated weather stations operate year-round. The weather stations involve international collaboration with the Italian, German, Australian, and British programs.

McMurdo Station

McMurdo Station, Ross Island, is the largest station in Antarctica and the logistics hub for the U.S. Antarctic Program. It supports three landing areas for aircraft and has an ice pier for ship offload. (NSF photo by Peter Rejcek.)

Visit the McMurdo Station webcam.

Read recent reports from McMurdo Station, published in the Antarctic Sun.

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, aeiral view

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, geographic South Pole, Antarctica, February 2012. (NSF photo by Jesse Peterson)

NSF Special Report — U.S. South Pole Station: Supporting Science

Visit the South Pole webcam.

Read recent reports from South Pole Station, published in the Antarctic Sun.

Palmer Station, Anvers Island, Antarctic Peninsula Region, Antarctica

Palmer Station, Anvers Island, Antarctic Peninsula Region, Antarctica. (NSF/USAP photo by Jeffrey Kietzmann, Raytheon Polar Services)

Visit the Palmer Station webcam.

Read recent reports from Palmer Station, published in the Antarctic Sun.

Logistical Support

Ski-equipped hercules airplanes

Twin Otter airplane at British station

Ski-equipped Hercules airplanes (LC-130) transport fuel, equipment, supplies, and personnel from McMurdo Station to inland sites, including Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and from New Zealand. During the austral summer, wheeled military transports (C-17s and C-130s) also bring equipment, personnel, and supplies to Antarctica from New Zealand.

Ski-equipped Twin Otters and Basler aircraft also provide support to field teams during the austral summer.


Helicopters provide support to field parties in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in southern Victoria Land and at remote field camps. Here a helicopter lands near the Beardmore Camp in the Transantarctic Mountains. (NSF photo by Peter Rejcek)

U.S. Antarctic Program ships

The U.S. Antarctic Program operates two icebreaking research ships, Laurence M. Gould and Nathaniel B. Palmer between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, in the Antarctic Peninsula region, and in the Ross Sea near McMurdo Station. Icebreakers annually open a channel to McMurdo Station to enable a supply ship and a tanker to reach the station.

Helicopter lands at Beardmore Camp

Small and large field camps support science parties in remote areas of Antarctica. The photograph shows a large camp—Central Transantarctic Mountains Camp—which supported field projects during the 2010-2011 austral summer season. (NSF photo by Peter Rejcek)

Automated geophysical observatory, number 6Automated Geophysical Observatories supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program.