TV Show and GOES 2 Goes J.S.Sweitzer -- Jan. 11, 1995

Today was the big day for the third "Live from Antarctica" broadcast. We woke up to a clear day that wasn't too cold. Best of all the winds were light. My only worry was that the satellite might decide to be uncooperative.

By 10:30 AM Pole time everyone was taking their places for the broadcast and the last wiring and lighting were being tested. I stayed in the SPIREX lab and watched the action from there. Video production is an amazing thing because what the audience sees is different from the way it looks in the "studio". We thought things went well, but we cannot see what is being produced so we were unsure. I was amazed at how fast things move when the show is on the air and I was impressed at how rapidly decisions need to be made.

When the show was over we all went to lunch. Then, to our surprise, Brent Jones, who is in charge of communications down here said that he'd just received a replay of the broadcast from our satellite ground station in Miami and made a videotape. It would be a little fuzzy he said. We also wouldn't be able to hear the audio that people back in CONUS (Continental US) would hear; instead we would have to settle for what's called the production audio. Nevertheless, we were all anxious to see what the show looked like and hurried down any last bits of lunch.

Nearly thirty people packed the small lounge where videotapes are shown. We watched and were all happy with what we saw, cheering when we saw people we knew. Personally, I was most gratified to see the Space Explorers from Chicago whom I have the privilege to work with. It's a real treat to see people you know from back home when you are down here. Communications are very important, both for these personal reasons, but also for the type of research CARA is doing.

In fact, there was a bit of sadness within CARA after the show, because we knew that, as far as we were concerned, the program was the swan song for the satellite that made it possible, GOES 2. After the TV show it would not be available for Pole to use for data and other forms of communications that we are increasingly dependent on. We will have to wait a long time until we enjoy the capabilities of GOES 2. We used it mainly to send data back and forth to CONUS and operate our instruments via the Internet. We also use a satellite called LES 9, but it doesn't have anywhere near the performance capabilities of GOES 2.

I believe we might get access to a different GOES satellite by the end of the year. Until that time, we will have to do with much reduced communications abilities.