Satellite solution from SES Space and Defense, Artel and Leidos to connect Antarctica’s Palmer Station

At a time when scientists are working overtime to analyze and understand the impacts of climate change on our planet, it is essential that they stay connected even in the harshest environments. And, with few terrestrial networks available at these locations, satellite often remains the only and best way to deliver the connectivity they need. This is why the National Science Foundation (NSF) has turned to Artel, SES Space and Defense and Leidos to deliver vital connectivity solutions to Palmer Station in Antarctica.

According to a recent announcement released by the three companies, the satellite-based service they will deliver will serve as the primary backbone for the sharing of leading year-round scientific research from the field to the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) data center located more than 7,500 miles away in Centennial, Co.

The rapid data connection ensures the reliable transfer of data for the scientific community, but also provides a glimpse into the far reaches of Antarctica for the public through their station and penguin webcam live streams.

Palmer Station’s location on the Antarctic Peninsula, due south of Argentina, has given the USAP a unique perspective to provide leading research on global issues such as climate change and the effects on wildlife and surrounding ecosystems. The transmission of this data from the isolated environment to the global population has become pertinent to the NSF and USAP mission.

Each of the three companies will be leveraging their unique solutions and technologies to make this possible. Artel engineered the solution leveraging the C-band coverage provided by the SES-14 satellite, with backhaul from the SES Space and Defense Teleport in Bristow, Va. through terrestrial circuits also engineered by Artel.

“Artel was involved with the NSF’s Palmer Station Satellite Data Services from the beginning of 2002 to 2008 as a solution provider, installing the current 4.9-m C-band Palmer earth station and engineering the original satellite-based connectivity solution to provide end-to-end communications between the Palmer station and the USAP data center,” said Ed Spitler, Head of SATCOM Programs at Artel. “We look forward to supporting the Leidos team in continuous delivery of mission-critical satellite-based data connectivity services to Palmer Station.”

Long-term service provided by the three companies initiated in September 2019 and will continue to support Palmer Station through 2027.

“We’re glad to…collaborate with our industry partners to provide crucial and resilient satellite connectivity to Palmer Station,” said Pete Hoene, CEO & President of SES Space and Defense.

Feature image by Ken Keenan, National Science Foundation

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