DLR operates the O’Higgins station year-round 24/7 with a permanent four-person local team (two DLR engineers and two Chilean colleagues). As a rule, the team is replaced every two to three months.
DLR owns the station and is responsible for satellite operation, management, infrastructure and logistics. BKG is responsible for all geodetic measurements. The coordination of logistic activities is handled by DLR and Instituto Antártico Chileno (INACH) on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the two institutions.
The GARS O’Higgins station is comprised of a total of 35 20-foot ISO containers, subdivided into two separate units: the research station and living quarters are housed in 15 containers; the utilities station consists of 20 containers (see photo). The station is self-sufficient with its own diesel-generator power supply, water desalinization equipment and sewage biotreatment plant. In 2014 new high-grade steel double-walled tank containers (24 m³ each) were installed for fuel storage. By agreement, rubbish is presorted and then disposed of at Chile’s nearby General Bernardo O'Higgins Station. Old or defect electrical and electronic equipment, sewage treatment residue, and problematic waste (such as old batteries) are suitably packed and returned to Germany in containers for appropriate disposal.
GARS O’Higgins is equipped with a permanent satellite communication link of 2 Mbit/s uplink and 1 Mbit/s downlink bandwidth.
More information and details in English about the satellite receiving station can be accessed with the link at right.