Satellite technology keeps Antarctica in touch

Expeditioner using tools to install new satellite system on the Aurora Australis
Installing the new satellite system on the Aurora Australis - 2009

6 November 2009

New cutting edge satellite technology is being installed on the Aurora Australis and at Wilkins aerodrome to improve communications this summer.

The Inmarsat system, FleetBroadband on the ship and BGAN (Broadband Global Access Network) at the aerodrome, will provide an almost real time email system and cheaper phone calls for expeditioners.

It uses the new Inmarsat satellite, commissioned early this year, to provide a constant data circuit.

The Australian Antarctic Division's Telecommunications Manager, Peter Yates, says the new system will make communication much easier.

"Currently there's only low-speed email and poor quality phone lines at Wilkins," Mr Yates said.

"This new system uses voice over IP and will allow Antarctic Division employees to easily stay in touch with Head Office in Kingston as well as providing cheaper phone calls to family and friends."

The systems were successfully used on a voyage to Macquarie Island in October and will be used on subsequent Antarctic voyages.

It will be installed at Wilkins aerodrome in time for the first flight of the season in December.