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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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TIGER in Antarctica


There are a number of custom snow vehicles used down here, and even more "standard vehicles" that have been modified for the cold and snow. For areas with good roads, there is a large fleet of Ford vans and pickup trucks, modified for the local terrain (large snow tires, 4-wheel drive, hydraulic emergency brakes, engine-block heaters, etc.). All of these are variations of the same models, and the pickup trucks and vans use the same engine. This makes repair and spare part stockpiling much easier. There are also bulldozers and tractors. Even the custom vehicles tend to be variations of a few basic types.

Nodwell The Nodwell is the tracked personnel carrier that we took to Happy Camper School.
Nodwell Fire Truck Out at Willy field, we have a fire truck that is based on a Nodwell and can get to most places on the ice shelf.
Delta The Delta is the standard heavy utility vehicle here. There are several different versions. This is the one we took to the Scott Hut and Ice Caves. There are also cargo versions.
New Launch Vehicle This year (2003) they have a new launch vehicle that is capable of launching heavier payloads. TIGER doesn't need it, but it will make launching Tracer (the other payload down here) easier, and it will be necessary for payloads planned for the future. This vehicle is named "The Boss". I'm told it is the largest wheeled vehicle on the continent.
Delta Crane The crane that picked up and launched TIGER in 2001 was based on the Delta. It was custom built with stabilizing booms to handle the horizontal forces that can occur if the wind shifts.
Haaglund The Haaglund is a robust vehicle that is used for long distance traverses. This one is used by the Search And Rescue (SAR) team. The vehicle's name is "Uncle Buck". Most of the vehicles that have been around for a while have names. You've got to do something when you're bored.
Pisten Bully The Pisten Bully has replaced all of the Sprites (see below) as the standard small utility vehicle around McMurdo.
Sprite In 2001, the Sprite was the standard small utility vehicle around McMurdo. This one was named "Hacksaw Molly". It looks like they've replaced all the Sprites (in 2003, I haven't seen any) with the Pisten Bullys.
Tracked Pickup Truck If you want a real off-road pickup truck, this is for you.
Snow Mobile For getting around the Willy airport, expecially on launch day, we have standard snow mobiles. Yahooo! The only problem is wind chill. Any exposed skin will get very cold (like my forehead did just after this picture was taken).

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Dr. Eric R. Christian
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This page was last modified on November 21, 2003