VOSTOK STATION

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Vostok is operated as a permanent Antarctic station by the Russian Federation and carries out a wide range of scientific activities. It is situated in the centre of East Antarctica on the Polar Plateau at an altitude of 3,488 meters and is the most isolated of any Antarctic Base. It is also known as the coldest place on earth.

In recent years a vaste lake (Lake vostok) has been discovered beneath the ice sheet and this has attracted considerable scientific (and other) attention because of its unusual size, a large magnetic anomoly and the possibility of volcanic activitiy under the ice shelf being the cause of the liquid rather than frozen nature of the lake. 

Currently (2001) plans are being advanced to drill into and sample the waters of Lake Vostok looking for signs of life.

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The Russian Vostok Station was opened in December 1957 and has an average summer population of 25 and average winter population of 13.

It has 5 main buildings and is supplied by 3 or 4 flights from Mirny Station on the coast.

 

EAST CAMP.

In recent years the US Antarctic Program has operated a temporary camp alongside the Russian Vostok Station. This camp (shown at right) is called East Camp and is used as the American support base for the current joint Lake Vostok drilling program.

East Camp receives 3 or 4 LC130 Hercules flights a season from McMurdo Base with flights also scheduled at times to or from the American South Pole Station.

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VOSTOK 1.      2001 (Jan 10th) Cover flown McMurdo Base to Vostok.      Price US$8

Note: The above cover was flown from McMurdo to Vostok Station on January 10th on board Air National Guard Hercules LC130 aircraft Skier 93 (flight V-017) under the command of Captain John Panoski.

From East Camp it was taken to Vostok where the Vostok postmark of 16 January, 2001 was applied at lower left.  Because the American postage stamp had not been postmarked at McMurdo, it was postmarked instead on arrival at South Pole Station on February 4th, 2001 after arriving there on January 30th, 2001.

The picture at right shows the Air National Guard LC130 Hercules taxing out to the runway at Vostok Station in January, 2001.

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VOSTOK 2.      2001 (Jan 16th) Cover flown Vostok to South Pole Station.      Price US$8

Note: The above cover is franked with a current Russian stamp but surprisingly the Vostok Station postmaster has instead applied his datestamp at lower left rather than on the stamp itself. The cover flew to  South Pole Station on January 30th where it was backstamped there on February 1st (see backstamp on cover pictured at right) and then the Russian stamp on the envelope was finally postmarked at South Pole (4th February 2001).

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Another view of Vostok Station taken in January, 2001.

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VOSTOK 3.      2004 (December 22nd) Postcard flown Vostok to McMurdo Station.    Price US$8

Note: the above postcard shows an aerial view of the runway at Vostok. The souvenir stamp sheet is a special Russian one commemorating the Ice Drilling into Lake Vostok. it also shows the geographic south pole with the Russian Antanov aircraft which was stranded there from 2002 until 2004.

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VOSTOK 4.     2004 (December 22nd) Postcard flown Vostok to South Pole Station.    Price US$8

This postcard differs from the previous item in its destination. Interestingly the postcard connects the two places shown on the souvenir sheet.


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