23 May 2019 18:35

Russkaya station in Antarctica to be recommissioned after 2020 for Roscosmos' needs

ST. PETERSBURG. May 23 (Interfax) - Recommissioning of the Russkaya research station in Antarctica, which was mothballed almost 30 years ago, will begin in 2020, Deputy Director of the Russian Institute of Arctic and Antarctic Research Alexander Klepikov said.

The station was put in storage in 1990. Polar explorers have visited it three times since then, but the station has not fully resumed operation, Klepikov said, adding that it would be recommissioned by Roscosmos.

"Roscosmos is present at practically every of our stations but Vostok. It is installing equipment to monitor Russian satellites and spacecraft. They need a spot in the Russkaya station's area as when one of our satellites fly over there it's not visible," Klepikov said.

Russkaya is unique: "it is situated in a difficult-to-access coastal area in the Pacific sector of Antarctica," he said.

"The window for getting to the Russkaya station is three weeks, between February 15 and March 10. We will visit it in 2020, deliver some cargo, run some tests, and see what is inhabitable and what isn't. A seasonal team will land there in 2021 to put the station into working order. Most importantly, we need to replace the diesel power unit and communication systems," Klepikov said.

The Russkaya station was established in 1980 and mothballed ten years later.