Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Aaron Drake


The assessment of feasibility of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that is specifically tailored—in performance, operating and support characteristics, and payload—to support hardware-based data transfer from South Pole Station in Antarctica to a location of high connectivity has been undertaken. Due to the specific location of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station and competing demands from other governmental agencies, satellite connectivity requirements for data transfers cannot be met at the South Pole. In the recent decades, the advancement in UAS capabilities have overwhelming extended their operational reach in military and commercial reconnaissance and surveillance missions. This UAS has the potential to supplement research data transfer in environments – such as the South Pole – where communications are extremely limited. The methodology used to determine feasibility of the Carrier Pigeon UAS are; trade studies for similar UAS, hand calculations, initial constant diagrams, and assessment of command, control, and support. The outputs determined the proposed system is feasible to meet personnel, climate, altitude, range, and payload requirements of a continuous “Carrier-Pigeon” UAS that enables high volumes of rapid data via hard disk drive transfer from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to Christchurch, New Zealand.