Skip to main content
Email Print Share

Press Release 16-146

National Science Foundation evacuates patient from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Patient is Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the moon.

A ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

A ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in a 2015 photo.
Credit and Larger Version

December 1, 2016

Contact for b-roll: Dena Headlee,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has agreed to provide a humanitarian medical evacuation flight for an ailing visitor from its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast and then to New Zealand.

The patient is Buzz Aldrin, who, in 1969, became one of the first men to walk on the Moon, as part of the two-man lunar landing crew of Apollo 11.

The request to NSF, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, came on Dec. 1 (local time, U.S. stations in Antarctica keep New Zealand time) from White Desert, a private tourism firm.

Ski-equipped LC-130 cargo planes flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard provide the air bridge between the South Pole and McMurdo. The flight to New Zealand will be scheduled as soon as possible.

NSF will make additional statements about the patient’s medical condition only as conditions warrant.


Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-7530,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page:
NSF News:
For the News Media:
Science and Engineering Statistics:
Awards Searches:


Aerial shot of South Pole station
View Video
Generic NSF Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station B-Roll
Credit and Larger Version