A bit of South Pole internet history

the first Pole internet connection

The Internet connection shown in this picture marked the beginning of when people at the Pole could send their own email, surf the web, or chat with their family and friends back home, all from their own computer at their desk.

The date of this first Internet connection was 8 February 1994. The people who built the satellite link were Paul Eden, Brent Jones, and Skip Withrow. This first connection was using the LES-9 Satellite, at 38.4 kilobits per second. The same link and equipment were used for a number of years. One week later, a second Internet connection was established using the GOES-2 satellite, at a much higher data rate, of 128 to 256 kilobits per second. (Here is a full size (217k) image.)

the original GOES antenna atop the elevated dormThe dish in the photo at left was originally used to access GOES-2 for the high speed internet access. The ATS-3 system used the same old antennas and was only capable of a single voice telephone call. A couple of new LES-9 antennas, which are pretty small, were also erected for the internet access through Florida, but they did not use the 4.5 meter dish either. Eventually, GOES-2 was moved out over the Pacific, and GOES-3 took its place providing the link to Pole. During May 2001 the GOES-2 satellite was moved out of geosynchronous orbit (archived NOAA press release) to make room for other newer satellites....

The screen shot and stories are courtesy Brent Jones. The El Dorm photo is from this archived NASA site, by Pat Smith during the SPTR installation studies...which would add new antennas to the Elevated Dorm roof to access the off-orbit TDRS-1 satellite in 1997-98 (information and photos).