Since 1991 the German Antarctic Station GARS O’Higgins has been operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG). The station is located about 30 km west of the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula in the direct vicinity of the Chilean Antarctic Base General Bernardo O'Higgins.
The station’s most important scientific instrument is a 9-m antenna system designed for use in extreme Antarctic conditions. It is used to acquire satellite data, telecommand satellites, and also for geodetic radio telescope measurements. A wide range of Earth observation data from European and German satellite missions (ERS-1/-2, TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X) has been collected with this antenna system since 1991. These data have provided important insights into the climate and environmental changes at the Antarctic Peninsula for over 20 years.
Since the beginning of 2010 the station has been operational and manned year-round on a 7/24 schedule. Future plans envisage development towards an observatory for environmentally relevant research. The portfolio of the station will be accordingly expanded and include development of the infrastructure, in particular the construction and operation of new scientific instruments that will be focused on long-term measurements.