The Operations Room

The Ops Room, located in central London, is the hub of the expedition.

There is a core operations team of 6 people, who operate on a shift system, to ensure that the Ops Room is permanently manned throughout the 3 month expedition. The Ops Room is normally a hive of activity and, on any given day, might play host to the numerous members of the CAS support team, the media, sponsors, science partners or those involved in the CAS Education programme.

The team is headed up by Simon Harris-Ward and Chip Cunliffe and supporting them are four Operations Managers - Dominic Hilton, Gaby Dean, Tori Taylor and Rebecca Duckworth.

The team is responsible for the day to day running of the project, focusing primarily on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the Ice Team. A project of this scale takes years to plan but, ultimately, it’s all about ensuring the expedition is a success.

A typical 24 hours centers around the daily ‘SITREP’ (Situation Report) call from the Ice Team. Ann normally calls in, via the satellite phone, at around 5pm UK time. She will give details of the weather, their exact location, distance travelled, the teams physical and emotional states, items to be included on the next resupply and their intentions for the day. Prior to receiving this call, the Operations Team will have studied both high resolution satellite imagery and weather charts of the Arctic Ocean so that we can share as much of that information with them as possible, allowing them to make informed decisions about the days travel. We will also pass on any messages from friends, family or the media.

Pen is carrying out scientific measurements and observations throughout the day. At the end of each day Pen will convey all of this information to the Ops Team so that it can be logged and then distributed to our scientific partners for analysis.

Once the call is over we then distribute the information to the relevant personnel within the extended team. This may include the medics, the media team, our science partners or the technical engineers.

Maintaining and updating the website is another important responsibility of the Ops Team. The website is updated on a daily basis to include the latest weather at the team’s location, the Ice Team’s progress as well as the latest audio, video and images sent back from the ice.

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The Operations room in action.

Another major focus of the Ops Team is the coordination of the resupply flights. Constant communication between the Ops Team, the pilots, the flight controller and the Ice Team is crucial to ensure a successful resupply. Providing air support this far north, in an area as inhospitable as the Arctic is a highly complex, lengthy and unpredictable process.

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