2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
The NAILS radome at T-Site. Photo courtesy of "NASA Mike" Comberiate. 

Program Manager:
Mr. Pat Smith


ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Joe Harrigan

Mr. Mike Comberiate (Principal Investigator)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Black Island / T-Site

Project Description:
Black Island hosts an uplink station to the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). TDRSS is a communication signal relay system that provides tracking and data acquisition services between low-earth orbiting spacecraft and the stateside control and data processing facilities of NASA and NOAA. The orange-and-white radome at T-Site above McMurdo hosts the NASA Antarctic Interactive Launch Support (NAILS) two-meter satellite tracking station. This technical project maintains and upgrades these systems.

Field Season Overview:
New hardware and software installed last season on TDRSS now enables simultaneous telemetry collection at L-band and commanding at S-band. Field team members will test the new system, install a new radio system, and upgrade the existing remote control software for NAILS. This will result in a move from the NSF Router onto the NOAA router for a secure, dedicated channel. Deploying team members will also train the winter-over caretaker. At T-Site each season, field team members replace or refurbish the motors in the antenna and recalibrate the antenna because of the increased usage as an L-band receive system. At South Pole Station, Mike Comberiate intends to donate an interactive touchscreen system that was installed in the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch over the past decade and at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). It contains two- to three-minute video segments that document many of the historical events during the long-standing NASA-NSF collaboration in the area of space technologies.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Mike Comberiate (PI)
  • Kurt Rush
  • Gabriel Trisca
  • Randy Westlund

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs