McMurdo Station modernization plans

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment and consolidation of buildings at McMurdo Station. This conceptual drawing is subject to revision prior to final design. (Image Credit:  Leidos)

A long-range plan to modernize McMurdo Station (WAP USA-22), NSF’s logistics hub in Antarctica, to better support cutting-edge science in the coming decades cleared a major hurdle in the last week of October when a Final Design Review (FDR) of what is envisioned as a 10-year undertaking was conducted.

The successful outcome for the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernization for Science (AIMS) project puts NSF’s Office of Polar Programs a significant step closer to being able to redevelop McMurdo into an energy and operationally efficient platform from which to launch world-class Antarctic science.

Over the space of three days, an independent, comprehensive review was carried out of not only the progress of the project, but also the recipient’s capability and capacity to successfully, safely, and professionally deliver the AIMS-approved project scope within funding limits, and within an established schedule.

Now that the review is complete, the FDR Panel report, with its recommendations and OPP’s responses will make its way to the next stage: a formal review by NSF’s Facilities Readiness Panel.

Even though the panel has determined the project is indeed ready to proceed to construction, further milestones must still be met, including OPP’s formal presentations to NSF’s Facilities Readiness Panel, as well as to the Director’s Review Board, before the project is formally presented to the National Science Board in Feb 2019.

If the NSB approves the project, it will make a recommendation to the Director’s designee for final authorization for the modification the Leidos contract to include AIMS.