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More than images, CSTARS is using satellites for communication with the U.S. Antarctic Amundsen Scott South Pole station. Currently, the CSTARS Communications team operates the Government-owned, highly inclined orbit Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite model 3 (GOES-3) in support of the Antarctic Program. CSTARS Communications has the capability to command and control the satellite using VHF and S-band command and telemetry, as well as to utilize the satellite’s S-band communications transponder.

The extremely remote Antarctic region requires innovative and adaptive methods to collect, access and exchange scientific data. Telecommunications satellites provide the sole means of communicating this data to the outside world. CSTARS facilitates these research operations, equipment troubleshooting and repair, technical consultation, software exchange, and real-time and delayed data. Antarctic telecommunications traffic includes tele-science, tele-medicine, high-speed scientific data transfer, and real-time peer-to-peer voice and data communications.

The satellite can be seen and accessed by the Antarctic Service Community daily at predetermined times. Schedules are generated at CSTARS and are made available on this website.

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Aerial photograph of the Amundson-Scott South Pole Station in January, 2008. The South Pole Marisat-GOES Terminal (SPMGT) antenna used in communications is covered in white radome at the far end of the station (toward the top left of photo). Photo by Scot Jackson, NSF.

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