November 28th, 2009

South Pole Station, Antarctica
Austral Summer 2009-2010

New Zealand, McMurdo and South Pole - Current Time

Travel Part 4 - Last leg to the Pole

Friday Morning, after a shower, and breakfast, it was off to the MCC to check in for our flight. Everything went pretty much as planned, and we were shuttled back out to the ice runway for our last flight south.

Building 140 - the movement control center

Our check-in counter - everything gets weighed here the night before.

The shuttle bus.

Inside the rear of the LC-130 somewhere over Antarctica.

It was a 3 hour flight from McMurdo to the Pole, and was rather uneventful. We got in about 11 AM, and got the usual in-briefing and video, and then it was off to lunch. As part of the briefing, we're told not to do much the first 2 days to get a chance to acclimate to the elevation. The pole is at 9,300' elevation above mean sea level, but since the world revolves around us, the air is even thinner, so most days the pressure altitude is more in the 10,000 to 12,000 foot range. (More on that on a later page).

Here's the link to the almost live webcam at the pole.

So, the station I arrived at is actually the 3rd station established by the United States at the Geographic South Pole. I was last at the Pole in January of 2001. At that time most of the year round facilities were located underneath the dome. During my visit in 2001 (I was only on station for 8 days), the new arches, the 'Beer Can', and the foundation for the first wing were about all that had been constructed. In the intervening years, they have pretty much completed the new elevated station.

Here are some aerial shots from the USAP photo library.

Photograph by: Scot Jackson - National Science Foundation

Photograph by: Andrew V. Williams - National Science Foundation

Photograph by: Scot Jackson - National Science Foundation

Don't worry I'll get you a photo tour of the station before I get out of here. I just need to get busy with the camera.

The boss gave me the tour of station, and then it was off to my room to get settled in.

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