Sir David Attenborough goes LEO

The RRS Sir David Attenborough, a research vessel operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), has completed the installation of the low earth orbit (LEO) Starlink satcom service to deliver internet connectivity during its work in Antarctic waters.

The system was delivered by Clarus Networks Group, providing a new high-bandwidth option beyond what was possible with the existing VSAT installation on the vessel.

The RRS Sir David Attenborough is currently carrying out scientific research at King Edward Point Research Station, operated by BAS, on the island of South Georgia, approximately 1400km south-east of the Falkland Islands.

“Connecting people at our bases and on the ship to the rest of the world has never been easier – Starlink has transformed communication for everyone at BAS,” said Dean Evans, Head of Communications Engineering, British Antarctic Survey.

“Having a consistently fast and reliable connection has opened avenues that were not possible before with older satellite technology, and working in remote, isolated areas is now so much easier and safer for everyone.”

“Faster speeds now possible with Starlink enables scientists to collect and deliver data more effectively and makes it easier for those in Antarctica to reliably stay in contact with friends and family. This technology makes managing our remote sites easier and more convenient, from at-a-glance updates to in-depth data mining and metrics.”

The system delivered includes Starlink Flat High Performance Antennas, offering download speeds of up to 220 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps at sea, with a latency of 20-99ms.

“Our partnership with BAS in equipping the RRS Sir David Attenborough demonstrates the power of low earth orbit satellites. This impressive vessel will now be enabled by connectivity, instead of restricted, allowing real-time data transmission, communication, and collaboration, ensuring that BAS scientists can work efficiently,” said Chris Schonhut, Maritime and Energy Director of Clarus Networks Group.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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