Jean-Louis Etienne and an Argos beacon
Applications & Services 10/11/2021

Jean-Louis Etienne, an explorer accompanied from space

On May 11, 1986, Jean-Louis Etienne, doctor, and French explorer was the first man to reach the North Pole alone by sled. This achievement was officially recognized by CLS thanks to the Argos beacon that Jean-Louis Etienne carried with him.

From his first attempt at the North Pole on skis in 1985 to the Polar Pod expedition planned for 2023 to study the circumpolar current, CLS has always accompanied the extreme adventurer.


Everything started in 1985

1985 marks his first expedition to the Pole and his collaboration with the French Space Agency that would lead to the development of a beacon dedicated to polar explorers.

This beacon transmitted the explorer’s position back to HQ and could send messages such as (BQVMCI -> Need to be picked up immediately or TVB -> All is well etc.). It is this location and assistance beacon that allowed him to conquer the North Pole on skis in 1986 in a more serene manner and above all to certify to National Geographic that he had indeed reached the most mythical pole in the world.


The Antarctica & Banquise missions

The story that links CLS to Jean-Louis Etienne does not stop with the adventure and the human exploit but continues in the scientific field. During the 1989 Antarctica mission, Jean-Louis Etienne used an Argos beacon and a Psion (keyboard) to transmit meteorological data to scientists sitting comfortably at their desks.

It was during the 2002 Sea Ice Mission that Jean-Louis Etienne’s scientific mission took on its full meaning. The aim of the ice floe mission was to understand the role of the North Pole in the climate balance on board the “Polar Observer” capsule. During this mission, the Arctic drift was measured with an Argos/GPS beacon.

A chain of thermistors was able to measure the temperature of the ice at different depths. All these measurements were sent to LODYC (Laboratory of Dynamic Oceanography and Climatology). During this mission JLE also deployed two Argos oceanographic buoys for the Argonautica program. The mission of these two buoys was to track ocean currents.


CLS is proud to accompany Jean-Louis Etienne again on his next Polar Pod mission and to have Jean-Louis Etienne as a member of the CLS Mission Company Committee.


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