Carol Armstrong, ship sponsor for the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) research vessel (R/V) Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), breaks a bottle across ship's bow during a March 2014 christening ceremony at Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. shipyard in Anacortes, Washington. Joining Armstrong on the platform are Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, left, chief of naval research, Mr. Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., and Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of the late astronaut.  Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Carol Armstrong, ship sponsor for the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) research vessel (R/V) Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), breaks a bottle across ship’s bow during a March 2014 christening ceremony at Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. shipyard in Anacortes, Washington. Joining Armstrong on the platform are Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, left, chief of naval research, Mr. Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., and Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of the late astronaut.
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has delivered a state-of-the-art research vessel – the R/V Neil Armstrong — to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

The ship is outfitted to carry out scientific studies of the marine environment.

Last month, the Dakota Creek Industries shipyard in Anacortes, Washington delivered R/V Neil Armstrong to the oceanographic institute – a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to marine research.

The research vessel successfully completed acceptance trials last August, the Navy reported.

According to the ONR, the R/V Neil Armstrong will replace the Navy-owned R/V Knorr, which Woods Holehas operated since 1970. The Knorr served as the command ship during the discovery of the deep ocean thermal vents (nicknamed “black smokers”) in 1977 and the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985.

Tam O'Shaughnessy, ship's sponsor for the auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) vessel R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28), breaks a bottle across the bow during a christening ceremony in August 2014 at the Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., shipyard in Anacortes, Washington.  Joining O'Shaughnessy on the platform are Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., Matron of Honor, the reverend Dr. Bear Ride, Matron of Honor, Kathleen Ritzman, assistant director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, Kathryn Sullivan, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research.  Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Tam O’Shaughnessy, ship’s sponsor for the auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) vessel R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28), breaks a bottle across the bow during a christening ceremony in August 2014 at the Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., shipyard in Anacortes, Washington.
Joining O’Shaughnessy on the platform are Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., Matron of Honor, the reverend Dr. Bear Ride, Matron of Honor, Kathleen Ritzman, assistant director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, Kathryn Sullivan, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research.
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Neil Armstrong and its sister ship, R/V Sally Ride (AGOR-28), will conduct coastal and deep ocean research with oceanographic research organizations under charter agreements, according to Megan Eckstein at U.S. Naval Institute News.

Range of scientific studies

A deep-ocean, general-purpose research vessel used for a wide range of scientific studies, the R/V Neil Armstrong will study ocean chemistry and geology, underwater acoustics, marine biology and ecosystem management, and marine technology development.

The 238-foot vessel can sail on cruises as long as 40 days and accommodate both a 20-person crew and up to 24 scientists.

R/V Neil Armstrong has multi-beam bottom-mapping sonar, advanced meteorological sensors and satellite data transmission systems. It also features the latest navigation and ship-positioning systems and a specially designed hull that improves sonar acoustic sensing.

The R/V Neil Armstrong “will provide a continuum of exploration for the next 50 years,” said Carol Armstrong, the astronaut’s widow and sponsor of the ship,” during March 29, 2014 christening ceremonies of the Navy’s newest research ship.

According to the Woods Hole’s Oceanographic Institution website, they will contribute $350,000 annually toward the operation and maintenance of R/V Neil Armstrong. In exchange, its scientists will receive preferential access to the ship schedule for about ten days a year.

Shake-down cruises

Now at Woods Hole, the ship is in for a month of being outfitted with equipment, spare parts, food and other supplies needed for research cruises.

It will then embark on “shake-down” cruises: a transit through the Panama Canal and maintenance on the East Coast; the ship’s science equipment will be installed, such as a high-tech sonar system and other ocean sensors.

Early in 2016, the R/V Neil Armstrong will undergo a series of science verification cruises to test its installed mission systems and ensure its readiness for conducting research missions.

The ship’s first science mission is planned for May 2016 in the North Atlantic.

Sister ship

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969, also served as a naval aviator flying nearly 80 combat missions during the Korean War.

The late Sally Ride was America’s first woman space traveler in 1983.

The R/V Sally Ride will collaborate with scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego – where Ride worked as a professor and scientist during her career.

 

 

 

 

 

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