Three Modules of New Wintering Complex Built at “Vostok” Station in Antarctica

Монтаж модулей нового комплекса на станции "Восток". Фото: ААНИИ /

The assembly of the first three modules of the new wintering complex has been completed at the Russian Antarctic station “Vostok”. In total, there will be five such structures as part of a modern research center in the depths of Antarctica. Their final commissioning is scheduled for 2025.

The team of the 68th Russian Antarctic Expedition of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute is engaged in the construction of buildings that will help winterers work in comfortable conditions. The new complex of the “Vostok” station will have a total area of about 2,000m2. Its length will be 140m, maximum height – 17.5 m. The three-meter supports on which the modules are placed will allow the station to remain above the level of snow drifts for many years. The installation of 36 supports was completed last season.

“During the seasonal work, the builders assembled the sub-frame, put in insulation, and installed the outer skin of three modules, which will allow the internal work to continue during the Antarctic winter. By the end of the year, it is planned to install and start-up heating and ventilation systems. Next season, we plan to finish the construction of all the modules of the new station and check its operability – launch it in test mode. We expect to fully put the new wintering complex ‘Vostok’ into operation in 2025," said Aleksandr Makarov, director of AARI.

The complex will be equipped with science laboratories, residential and public facilities for polar explorers, a garage, energy centers and technical units for water purification and storage systems. There is also a modern medical unit with an operating room, a pressure chamber, a dental and X-ray room, a lounge with billiards and a cinema room, a gym and a sauna. 35 seasonal specialists and up to 15 winterers will be able to live and work in excellent conditions at the “Vostok” station.

The new wintering complex of the “Vostok” station is designed for year-round living and work of polar explorers at extremely low temperatures. The station is located in the area that is considered the South Pole of Cold. It was here that the lowest temperature on the Earth's surface was recorded on July 21, 1983: -89.2 °C.

Leonid Mikhelson, Chairman of the Management Board of PAO NOVATEK, presented the project of the wintering complex at the “Vostok” station at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society in April 2019.

To ensure the construction of the new complex, 19 caravans of sleds and snow groomers successfully traveled along the “Progress”–“Vostok” route from November 2022 to February 2023. More than 3,100 tons of construction cargo and fuel were delivered to the station, 98 wintering polar explorers and seasonal specialists were brought.

The new airfield at the “Progress” station made it possible to quickly deliver cargo and a construction and installation crew to Antarctica. A team of 90 polar mechanics-drivers worked to equip the “Vostok” station with everything necessary. 45 pieces of equipment participated in the transport operations, including 40 “Polar-300” transporters and five “Caterpillar” tractors.