The Alex Kumar Story

Dr. Alexander Kumar

“My Iridium® phone has been vital and in regular use since I started my expedition to Antarctica. It saves lives to have satellite phone reception and has enabled me to stay in touch with my family while I'm "unreachable.”

Alex Kumar

Dr. Alexander Kumar, is a 28 year old British medical doctor currently living, working and conducting research for the European Space Agency at Concordia Station in Antarctica. Shortly after arriving, Dr. Kumar was asked to assume the position of onsite doctor. When faced with an emergency, Dr. Kumar quickly learned just how vital his Iridium phone would be in his new position.

Living, Working and Researching in Extreme Isolation

Dr. Kumar currently works for the French Polar Institute, living at Concordia station – a French-Italian research base. He, along with 13 other European scientists, live here in the world's most extreme environment on Earth. His Iridium phone has been vital and in regular use since the start of his expedition to Antarctica. “It saves lives to have satellite phone reception and has enabled me to stay in touch with my family while I'm "unreachable," Dr. Kumar said.

Shortly after arriving, a problem occurred and it soon became a true testament to the importance of having an Iridium phone. Within minutes of receiving the news, Dr. Kumar picked up his Iridium phone and was immediately connected to the British Antarctic Survey's Medical Unit (BASMU) in the United Kingdom. Alongside having support from the French and Italian Antarctic medical units, he was offered additional BASMU telemedicine support for his winter in isolation.

The Worst Winter the World has to Offer

Through Iridium's vast and reliable network, Dr. Kumar has access to 24-hour telemedicine cover with medical units in the United Kingdom, Italy and France. When the Antarctic winter comes upon the team, they will endure four months of 24-hour darkness with the temperature dropping to below -80 degrees Celsius – the coldest temperatures on Earth.

“Although we are all alone – we are more isolated than astronauts living onboard the International Space Station! – I have never felt more safe or comfortable in this harsh environment knowing I have an Iridium phone that can save lives,” Dr. Kumar said. “We have one of the clearest night skies available anywhere on the planet – looking up you can see with your naked eye into the Milky Way Galaxy. We know the satellites are up there surrounded by the ocean of stars.”

Read Dr. Kumar's guest post on Iridium 360°.

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May 2012