The Juan Carlos I Antarctic Base and the Gabriel de Castilla Antarctic Base form the BAE distributed Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructure (ICTS). Both bases are located in the South Shetland Archipelago, on Livingston Island and Deception Island, respectively. The two bases are only operational during the austral summer, usually between November and March.
The Juan Carlos I Antarctic Base was inaugurated in 1988 and is managed by the Marine Technology Unit of the CSIC. The Gabriel de Castilla Antarctic Base became operational in 1990 and is managed by the Spanish Army.
Access to the BAE is open and competitive and is regulated by an access protocol that prioritises requests for the use of the infrastructure based on the scientific and technological quality of the proposals. Two types of access have been identified for the BAEs:
- R&D&I activities for national, European and/or international projects.
- Other activities, including social communication, dissemination, facility improvement projects and institutional visits.
The call for access for Antarctic campaigns runs from 1 January to 15 May each year. It includes applications for research activities external to the State R&D&I Programme of the State Research Agency and other activities.