Science and Projects

New wintering Vostok station

Vostok station was founded on December 16, 1957. It is the only operating inland Russian Antarctic station.

Since its opening, the station has gone through two reconstructions (in 1974 and in 1982) and three conservations. The first buildings have long been under a thick layer of snow, and the more modern ones are partially or completely covered by the snow to a depth of 5 meters.

The station infrastructure needs to be completely replaced, so a project to build a new wintering building at Vostok is being implemented.

  • In 2019, the project for the new wintering Vostok station was presented by Leonid Mikhelson, the Chairman of the NOVATEK PJSC Board, at a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society Board of Trustees.
  • The design was prepared by the German company Ramboll, and the subsequent adaptation of the documentation to Russian standards and the controlled assembly was carried out by OAO Zapsibgazprom, OJSC.
  • On August 27, 2020, the controlled assembly of the wintering building was completed at OOO OZSK (Pilot Production Plant for Building Structures), LLC in Gatchina.
  • During the 67th RAE season, the vessels “Mys Dezhneva, “Yaroslav Mudryy”, “Kapitan Khlebnikov” and “Andrey Osipov” delivered the modules to Antarctica. In the seasons of the 67th and the 68th RAE, a tractor train traverse will take them from Progress, an Antarctic coastal station, to Vostok.

The new wintering building consists of five modules: two units for service and residential rooms, a service unit with diesel generator plants and water treatment and storage systems, a storage unit for a backup diesel generator and a garage. The length of the new building is 140 m, the width – 13.5 m, the maximum height – 17.5 m and the total area is more than 1911 m². The thickness of the wall insulation is 80 cm. The station will stand on 36 supports, each 3 m high, which will allow it to remain unsubmerged and on the snow surface for many years.

Four diesel generators with a capacity of 200 kW each (and two backup ones located separately from the station) will be installed at the heart of the station. Together with the new building, several types of solar panels will be sent to Antarctica for testing (the polar day at the Vostok station lasts four months). In the future, a solar power plant will be used at the station.

New technologies for alternative sources of energy have been implemented in the station design. The ventilation system includes a recuperator, which heats the incoming air at the expense of the exhaust air. Using a heat recovery system based on diesel generator exhaust gas, the air is successfully warmed for heating the premises. Only LED lamps are used for indoor and outdoor lighting. The water supply system involves the water treatment and purification process of the technical water for further reuse.

All systems have double or triple redundancy, and a two-year supply of fuel and food is provided.

The new station will provide accommodation and space for research activities for 15 people during the wintering period and for 35 people during the season. The station will also have a modern medical unit with an operating room, a dental and X-ray rooms, a pressure chamber, a mess room with billiards, a cinema room, a gym and a sauna.

In the future, the number of scientific programs at the Vostok station will increase. The southern branch of the AARI Climate and Environment Laboratory and the Vostok-Bio Laboratory will be opened there.


By Alexey Ekaikin, Alexey Nagaev, the Ministry of Natural Resources archives