NSF USAP Science Workshop – Communications (2011)
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo

May 24-25th, 2011
National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) ACCESS Grid
901 North Stuart Street, Suite 800
Arlington, Virginia 22203

Executive Summary
Conclusion and Recommendation
Full Proceedings Link to PDF file

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Executive Summary

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) commissioned the Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) to conduct an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) study addressing future communication needs for the US Antarctica Program (USAP). The results of this study will inform decisions on USAP communication architectures and mission support capabilities for a planning horizon of 2015-2030. Part of this charter led to sponsoring a science workshop to help define the requirements baseline for future USAP communications needs. This document summarizes the material from this venue.

Three focus areas emerged from the workshop, 1) South Pole users, 2) distributed users, and 3) maritime users. South Pole users have the largest bulk data requirements. Distributed users include low power users, which are serviced by low Earth orbit (LEO) narrowband servicing systems like Iridium. Maritime users can have stressing requirements if the unconstrained future requirements are included as part of the baseline.

Many of the requirements can be accommodated within realizable communication offerings. Some of the demanding maritime requirements may drive the required architectures. Tables 33 through 37 represent the combined summary of requirements from the workshop inputs that were utilized in an Analysis of Alternative (AoA) analysis of the potential methods of meeting future United States Antarctica Program communication needs.

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Conclusions and Recommedation

South Pole and distributed user requirements can be met via several communication systems or services. There is a desire to move towards real time data retrieval rather than store and forward or store and recovery once a season.

Maritime requirements include some challenging bulk data transfers and data rates. To meet these requirements will stress the system and may be cost drivers.

No single communication system can provide for all the communication needs. A mixed architecture between low rate distributed coverage and high data rate at specific locations can effectively meet most of the requirements.

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Name Organization Discipline/Relationship to Study
John Kovac Harvard University Astronomy/Photon Astrophysics
Albrecht Karle University of Wisconsin Astronomy/Particle Astrophysics
John Helly San Diego Supercomputer Center Atmospheric (lower) Sciences and Meteorology
Matthew Lazzara University of Wisconsin Atmospheric (lower) Sciences and Meteorology
Theodore Scambos CIRES/University of Colorado Glaciology and Antarctic System Science
Srihdar Anandakrishnan Pennsylvania State University Glaciology and Antarctic System Science
Bjorn Johns UNAVCO Antarctic Earth Sciences
Timothy Parker IRIS/PASSCAL Antarctic Earth Sciences
Steve Foley Scripps Institute of Oceanography Antarctic Ocean Sciences
Peter Doran University of Illinois Antarctic Organism and Ecosystem
Ian Evans Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems (ADASS)
Allan Weatherwax Siena College Atmospheric (upper) and Geospace Sciences
Peter Milne NSF OD/OPP
Jesse Crain NSF OD/OPP
Scott Borg NSF OD/OPP
Vladimir Papitashvili NSF OD/OPP, OPP/ANT
Tim McGovern NSF OD/OPP
Alexandra Isern NSF OD/OPP
Sandy Singer NSF OD/OPP
Dr. Philip Schwartz Aerospace Corporation Workshop Chair
Dr. Bryan Jacoby Aerospace Corporation Workshop Co-Chair
James Johansen Aerospace Corporation Workshop Lead
Mark Cowdin Aerospace Corporation Project Lead
Matthew Hart Aerospace Corporation Project Steering Committee
Debra Emmons Aerospace Corporation Project Steering Committee