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Notice: flight operations to and from McMurdo Station

July 31, 2017

Dear Antarctic colleagues,

We are writing to inform you of developments at McMurdo Station that will affect continental operations of the U.S. Antarctic Program, both this coming season and for the foreseeable future.

Conditions at the new Phoenix compacted-snow runway prevent the use of wheeled aircraft during the warm part of the austral summer. This situation, along with other operational constraints, will limit the number of flights to and from McMurdo Station in support of science and operations from approximately December 9, 2017, until February 1, 2018. The research community, along with all USAP organizations, should expect fewer options for moving personnel and cargo during that period. This limitation is likely to extend into future seasons and should be taken into account in project planning.

We recognize that this is a significant departure from U.S. Antarctic Program practice in the last few years and that it will have impacts on personnel, science, and operations.  NSF will work in cooperation with our contractors and military partners to minimize the impacts.  We hope that everyone in the U.S. Antarctic Program community appreciates the need for flexibility as we adapt to this new challenge. 

Specific questions you may have should be addressed to your respective program managers.


Scot G. Borg, Section Head, Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics
Eric S. Saltzman, Section Head, Antarctic Sciences

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) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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