2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Imaging the beginning of time from the South Pole: the next stage of the BICEP program

The Dark Sector Lab. Photo by Mike Lucibella, courtesy of the NSF/USAP Photo Library.
A-149-S Research Location(s): South Pole Station


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Paul Sullivan / Sheryl Seagraves / Leah Street

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Kovac
Harvard University
Department of Astronomy

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: South Pole Station


This project continues the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP)/Keck/BICEP3 program of observing the cosmic microwave background (CMB) mm-submm radiation, while also initiating the phased upgrade to the BICEP array of four newly developed receivers. This upgrade follows the tradition of improving upon the previous generation’s detectors: the Digital Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI), the Small Polarimeter Upgrade for DASI (SPUD), and, most recently, the BICEP/Keck Array. During the 2022-23 summer season, we will carry out: 1) The deployment of the second BICEP Array receiver (BA2) operating at 150 GHz, and retro of the Keck receiver replaced by BA2. The assembly of the receiver will take place in the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO) control room and Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA) room. The new receiver will be characterized in the lab prior to installation in the mount. 2) Maintenance and minor upgrades to the ongoing BICEP3 experiment. 3) Winterover training to allow continued observations with BICEP3 and BICEP Array during the 2023 winter season.

Field Season Overview

For the upcoming 2022-23 season, the requested support is as follows: a total of 12 deployments, including two staff for the 2023 winter; ~6,000 lbs of southbound cargo to support the deployment of the BA2 receiver; northbound cargo allowing for the retro of replaced Keck receivers and associated hardware; other support (including data transmission, cryogens, and laboratory space) allocated as for previous seasons. Overall, for BICEP Array activities in MAPO we anticipate needing the control room, AMANDA room, roof crane, loading bay and machine shop. To support the BICEP3 experiment, we anticipate continued usage of the BICEP control room and DSL loading dock area. Additionally, we request continued access to desks and dedicated collaborative space in the Science Lab in the main station for our personnel to work on data analysis and operational planning.

Deploying Team Members

  • Manwei Chan
  • James Cheshire IV
  • Anthony DeCicco
  • Marion Dierickx
  • Sofia Fatigoni
  • Christos Giannakopoulos
  • John Kovac (PI)
  • Clement Pryke
  • Alessandro Schillaci
  • Baibhav Singari
  • Bryan Steinbach
  • Silvia Zhang