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Insights into our latest mission to the Arctic.

Northernmost TV Broadcast

April 4, 2011

The Catlin Arctic Survey today teamed up with CNN to make what is believed to be the most northerly two-way TV interview broadcast from anywhere close to the North Geographic Pole.

Explorer and scientist Adrian McCallum was seen by a global audience on six continents in an interview with CNN Anchor Manisha Tank from the location 88 20 02.9 N 137 45 27.5 W where the team’s Basler DC-3 plane landed only 100 nautical miles from the North Geographic Pole.

McCallum told the worldwide audience the 170 mile trek his four-person team were about to begin aims to capture data for scientists trying to understand the impact of changes happening in the Arctic Ocean.

The broadcast from this extreme northerly location was made using Iridium’s OpenPort system, which enables sound and video to be uplinked to the only communications satellite array available around the North Geographic Pole.

To achieve the unique TV event, the operations support team practised rigging the broadcast equipment within 20 minutes to prevent cables from becoming too brittle and snapping in the -40ºC temperatures.

Ian Wesley, from the Catlin Arctic Survey operations support team, said: “Our rehearsals and attention to the finest detail in this extreme environment has paid off. With only 30 minutes to set up the broadcast before the plane had to take off again, the pressure was really on”.

Chip Cunliffe, Head of Operations, said:  “We are very pleased to have achieved this remarkable broadcast event using a combination of our polar expertise in partnership with CNN. It means a lot to us at Catlin Arctic Survey for a wide audience to be able to follow the vital scientific work our team is doing.”

The broadcast is part of CNN’s coverage of extreme science in the Arctic. Its special correspondent, Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, has been reporting from the Catlin Ice Base – a temporary research station at another location on the frozen ocean where a team of scientists from the USA, Canada and Britain are conducting research as part of the same expedition.

Stephen Catlin, chief executive of Catlin Group Limited, the sponsor of the Catlin Arctic Survey, said: “The scientific work to be carried out by the Catlin Arctic Survey explorers is truly important.  I am pleased that CNN has been able to provide information about the expedition to a worldwide audience while, at the same time, making broadcasting history.”

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