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International Geophysical Year

The International Geophysical Year (IGY; French: Année géophysique internationale) was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West had been seriously interrupted. Sixty-seven countries participated in IGY projects, although one notable exception was the mainland People's Republic of China, which was protesting against the participation of the Republic of China (Taiwan). East and West agreed to nominate the Belgian Marcel Nicolet as secretary general of the associated international organization.
On 29 July 1955, James C. Hagerty, president Dwight D. Eisenhower's press secretary, announced that the United States intended to launch "small Earth circling satellites" between 1 July 1957 and 31 December 1958 as part of the United States contribution to the International Geophysical Year (IGY). Project Vanguard would be managed by the Naval Research Laboratory and to be based on developing sounding rockets, which had the advantage that they were primarily used for non-military scientific experiments.
Showa Station, the first Japanese base in Antarctica, was set up in January 1957, supported by the ice breaker Soya. When the ship returned a year later, it became beset offshore (stuck in the sea-ice). It was eventually freed with the assistance of the US icebreaker Burton Island but could not resupply the station. The 1957 winterers were retrieved by helicopter but bad weather prevented going back for the station’s 15 sled dogs, which were left chained up. When the ship returned a year later, two of the dogs, Taro and Jiro were still alive. They had escaped the dogline and survived by killing Ad-lie penguins in a nearby rookery (which were preserved by the low temperature). The two dogs became instant national heroes in Japan. A movie about this story was made in 2006, Eight Below.
Ice Skate 2 was a floating research station constructed and manned by U.S. scientists. It mapped the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Zeke Langdon was a meteorologist on the project. Ice Skate 2 was planned to be manned in 6 month shifts. But due to soft ice surfaces for landing some crew members were stationed for much longer. At one point they lost all communications with anyone over their radios for one month except the expedition on the South Pole. At one point the ice sheet broke up and their fuel tanks started floating away from the base. They had to put pans under the plane engines as soon as they landed as any oil spots would go straight through the ice in the intense sunshine. Their only casualty was a man who got too close to the propeller with the oil pan.
This World Data System, hosts the repositories for data collected during the IGY. Seven of the 15 World Data Centers in the United States are co-located at NOAA National Data Centers or at NOAA affiliates. These ICSU Data Centers not only preserve historical data, but also promote research and ongoing data collection.