Patient Evacuated from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

A ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in a 2015 photo (not during the Aldrin evacuation). Credit: Mike Lucibella, National Science Foundation.
A ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in a 2015 photo (not during the Aldrin evacuation). Credit: Mike Lucibella, National Science Foundation.

National Science Foundation Evacuates Buzz Aldrin

By Peter West, National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has agreed to provide a humanitarian medical evacuation flight for an ailing visitor from its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast and then to New Zealand.

The patient is Buzz Aldrin, who, in 1969, became one of the first men to walk on the Moon, as part of the two-man lunar landing crew of Apollo 11. He is currently 86 years old.

The request to NSF, which manages the US Antarctic Program, came on December 1, 2016, from White Desert, a private tourism firm.

Ski-equipped LC-130 cargo planes flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard provide the air bridge between the South Pole and McMurdo. The flight to New Zealand will be scheduled as soon as possible.

NSF will make additional statements about the patient’s medical condition only as conditions warrant.

According to the NSF, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is named in honor of Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott, early-1900s explorers who reached the South Pole. Details on the station, its uses, and construction, may be found here.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provides this bio of Mr. Aldrin:

Buzz Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on January 20, 1930. Aldrin became an astronaut during the selection of the third group by NASA in October 1963.

On November 11, 1966, [Mr. Aldrin] orbited aboard the Gemini XII spacecraft, a 4-day 59-revolution flight that successfully ended the Gemini program. During Project Gemini, Aldrin became one of the key figures working on the problem of rendezvous of spacecraft in Earth or lunar orbit, and docking them together for spaceflight.

Aldrin was chosen as a member of the three-person Apollo 11 crew that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, fulfilling the mandate of President John F. Kennedy to send Americans to the moon before the end of the decade. Aldrin was the second American to set foot on the lunar surface.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions.

This interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module shows Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot, during the lunar landing mission. This picture was taken July 20, 1969, by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, prior to the moon landing. Source: NASA.
This interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module shows Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot, during the lunar landing mission. This picture was taken July 20, 1969, by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, prior to the moon landing. Source: NASA.
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Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.
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