February 22 in Russian history. Antarctic station Bellingshauzen.


The 13th Soviet Antarctic Expedition (SAE) opened the polar station Bellingshausen on the SW end of King George island (62° 11’ 59’’S, 58° 53’ 37’’W), in the bay Guardia Nacional, on Fildes peninsula. The construction began on 29 January. There were some wooden cottages for 20 explorers. In mid-1970s a powerful radio station was built there which serves the Russian fishing fleet, and the wooden cottages were replaced with aluminium ones. This is the northernmost Russian polar station and polar explorers often call this station "the resort". The average annual temperature is 4°C. In winter it may fall to -27°, but may rise even above zero. Now this is the smallest Russian station in Antarctica, there are only eight people in the winter plus five people who come in summer. Since 1968, three other Antarctic stations were built nearby: Chilean Escudero and Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva and Chinese Great Wall.

Now the 52nd and 53rd Russian Antarctic Expeditions are working in Antarctica and, in particular, at Bellingshausen station. Today, on 22 February, the scientific ship Akademik Fyodorov has to arrive to Bellingshausen from Point Island bay. The tractor train SGP-1 is returning from Vostok station to Mirny, moving at speed 57 km per day. The tractor train SGP-2 has arrived from Vostok station to Progress. Their route was 1,500 km. On their way they drilled holes at 77°00'S, 97°51'E. At Mirny station a new aerological locator has been launched. New cottages are being built at Progress station. On 14 February a group of scientists from Germany, Norway, UK and Belgium arrived at Novolazarevskaya station on IL-76 aeroplane. The geological and geophysical research at Druzhnaya-4 and Soyuz stations are being finished. On 10 February the field camp Willing was closed. Joint Russian-Polish group finished working on lake Radok.


Another important anniversary celebrated today at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute is 75 years of the Northern Sea Route. Actually, the administration of the Northern Sea Route was established on 17 December 1932, but the international press conference took place in the Institute on 21 February.


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