Saturday, January 4, 2014

PLATO communication satellite

South Africa issued this stamp on the displayed FDC.  The stamp shows a PLATO communication satellite orbiting the world with receivers in SA in 1975. The stamp was issued on 3.12.1975. This nice FDC was given to me by my friend Maria.

PLATO-F, the PLATeau Observatory for Dome F, is a self-contained automated platform for conducting year-round experiments completely robotically from the Antarctic plateau. It is the result of a scientific collaboration between universities in Japan and Australia.

PLATO-F runs without any human intervention on site. In fact, the closest person is over 1000km away and there is no possibility of any maintenance to PLATO-F until January 2013. PLATO-F has to generate its own electricity and heat, and is responsible for its own internet connectivity.

PLATO-F was taken to the Japanese inland station at Dome F by the 52nd JARE expedition in late 2010, by a 1000km traverse over a period of two weeks. PLATO-F is situated at a longitude of +39:41.66, a latitude of -77:19.27, and an elevation of 3802m (as measured with the GPS in the PLATO-F Iridium OpenPort satellite communications system). PLATO-F arrived at Dome Fuji in early January 2011, and began collecting scientific data on the 17th of January. The Mission Time at top right shows how long PLATO-F has been successfully running.

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