The Neumayer Station III is the first facility in the Antarctic to offer a multipurpose research station, base of operations and living quarters. It also serves as the logistical base for inland expeditions and polar research aircraft. Not only does it consist of multiple levels; instead of a single, massive foundation, it rests atop 16 foundation plates, which are anchored in an 8.20-metre-deep pit excavated from the snow.
Above those plates lies the actual platform, upon which the various rooms (all of which are formed by containers) are located, shielded by an outer hull. The actual station is six metres above the surface of the snow. The total height of its patented design, from the floor of the garage to the roof of the balloon-launching hall, measures 29.2 metres. The building can be accessed by a stairwell in the garage. The containers, stacked in multiple levels, are home to living quarters and workshops, utility rooms like the kitchen and mess hall, and laboratories.
Returning vehicles enter the station’s garage via a ramp of pure snow. The voluminous garage offers ample room for the entire vehicle fleet. Two small snowblowers are needed in connection with the procedure for raising the station, and for digging out pits.
With a total of 21 caterpillar trucks, 20 are usually stationed at Neumayer Station III – the last is at Kohnen Station year-round. The trucks are used for the researchers’ field campaigns, for resupplying Kohnen Station, and for various types of work in the vicinity of Neumayer Station III.
As a rule, the station has ten snowmobiles (“Ski-Doos”) at its disposal – but the total number of Ski-Doos, which the onsite teams use for work in rough terrain and at Kohnen Station, is 20.
For external maintenance work on the station, a 20-tonne crawler crane and a “cherry-picker” crane with caterpillar treads are also stationed there.
100 sledges are kept on hand for transporting heavy loads; containers (20-foot containers = 6.058 × 2.438 × 2.591 metres) are packed onto the sledges for transport between the two stations and the resupply ship. The containers’ content can vary widely: some are designed as storerooms or living quarters, while others hold heavy cargo, bulk goods or fuel.