ATSC engineers install TDRS Ground Terminal at the coldest place on earth

ATSC was responsible for System Engineering and Systems Integration for the South Pole TDRSS Ground Terminal which was installed in the 1997-1998 season. Science data is played from the ground station recorders located at the South Pole Station through a the 7.2-Meter antenna via TDRS to White Sands, New Mexico using ATSC's High Rate BPSK/QPSK Modulators at data rates up to 300 Mbps. Although the TDRS F-1 spacecraft is geosynchronous which should make it invisible from the South Pole, there is enough eccentricity in it's orbit to bring it above the horizon for 3.5 hours per day at which time the data is relayed to White Sands, NM.

The design of the South Pole TDRSS Relay System was accomplished utilizing lessons learned from the McMurdo project. In discussions with the science community it was found that interactive connections with equipment and experiments at the South Pole was desired as well as the bulk data dump capability. The design was done with the Relay System providing both capabilities. The system design was achieved utilizing all Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and modified COTS equipment to reduce development costs. The overall system design was done to allow virtually any user to transfer data through the system.

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