The National Science Foundation (NSF), designated as the Federal
executive manager for the United States national program in Antarctica,
administers and manages the United States Antarctic Program (USAP)
through the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) and its Prime Contractor,
currently Raytheon Polar Services Company (RPSC). The USAP mission is
based on the year-round operation of Antarctic research sites.
Limited funds and the severely remote polar region of the sites not
otherwise serviced by the commercial satellite communications industry,
cause the need for an innovative and cost-effective way to preserve,
exchange and access scientific data. In particular, services to the
NSF-owned, contractor-operated research facility located at the
geographic South Pole at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (ASSPS)
consist of the sole means of advanced telecommunications available to
this location. This capability facilitates experiment operations,
equipment troubleshooting and repair, collaboration with colleagues
world-wide, access to vendor or other expertise for experiment related
equipment, software exchange, and near real-time data transfer for
quality assurance and analysis.
One Government-provided highly inclined geosynchronous satellite is
used to support the fundamental objectives of tele-science, high-speed
data transfer and real-time peer-to-peer communications. The
University of Miami provides the facilities, equipment and staff
required to provide telecommunications via the satellite to the
Antarctic research sites and also to sustain command and control of the
shows the top-level view of the RSOC and its external
interfaces. The RSOC is physically located on the University of Miami
Richmond Campus in Richmond, Florida in an area with minimum radio and
The RSOC has the capability to view the following satellites:
- Geostationary Operation Environmental Satellite flight model three
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
Telecommunication services are provided through the GOES-3 satellite.
The satellite is viewable from the Service Community stations at varied
but predetermined times at the station.
Satellite schedules are
generated at the RSOC and made available to the Service Community. The
GPS provides accurate timing data to the RSOC.
The USAP prime contractor, currently Raytheon Polar Services Company
(RPSC), gathers, processes, negotiates and implements science research
support requirements for the Antarctic research activities. This
includes administration of the telecommunications contracts. They also
provide operations and technical support services for physical
operation of the U. S. Antarctic facility infrastructure and conduct of
scientific research in the Antarctic regions.
The University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric
Sciences (RSMAS) manages RSOC system acquisition and development. It
manages the RPSC sponsored contract for telecommunications to remote
sites and serves as the primary management interface to the Government
agencies and to support organizations.
The Service Community defines and prioritizes research needs, requests
system access, clarifies user requirements, and uses the system for
data communications. Currently, the Service Community includes South
Pole Station and McMurdo Station
The RSOC consists of multiple systems that provide the
telecommunication services to the Service Community and that provide
the operational flight control of the GOES-3 satellite.
contains a block diagram that depicts the top-level system functional
The RSOC system operation is fully supported by an infrastructure of
buildings, antennas, utilities, and suites of electronic and mechanical
equipment at the Richmond site. The University of Miami RSMAS provides
administrative and software development