The 59th crew of the South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE 59) departed Cape Town yesterday on maintenance and upgrade expedition at the SANAE IV facility, a South African Antarctic research base located at Vesleskarvet in Queen Land, Antarctica.
The overwintering 17-member crew comprising two new SANSA Engineers: Vhulahani Manukha, responsible for the maintenance of the Very Low Frequency (VLF) systems, Magnetometers and the MOSAIC system; and Pierre Retief, who will work specifically on SANSA’s Radar and GNSS equipment, particularly the SuperDARN Radar network, will depart on board the SA Agulhas II, an icebreaking polar supply and research ship. The crew will be trained for two months by the expedition S58 crew members before returning to South Africa in February. The S59 crew is expected to arrive the facility by late December.
South African National Antarctic Expedition(SANAE) refers both to the overwintering bases and the team spending the winter in Antarctica. The expedition also has Summer teams, comprising of administrative and maintenance personnel, helicopter crew and scientists from various countries. Overwintering teams consist of scientists and support personnel from South Africa The scientific data that is collected during voyages is critical to the understanding of amongst other things, the impacts of climate change and weather information associated with extreme events.
The SANAE 59 crew will be joined for the summer months by team lead and Antarctic engineer Stephanus Schoeman, as well as a medical doctor, mechanics, meteorologists, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer, a communications engineer, an instrumentation technician, and two Antarctica volunteers.
The research programme at the SANAE IV base is carried out under the auspices of the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP), who has other bases in Antarctica are located on the Gough and Marion Islands.
About South African National Antarctic Programme(SANAP)
The South African National Antarctic Programme (or SANAP) is a research programme in the Antarctica and Subantarctic, established by the South African government as one of the original signatory states of Antarctica Treaty. The mission of the programme is to increase understanding of the natural environment and life in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean through appropriate science and technology.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.