Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet

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The level of autonomy for AUV operations should increase signifi- cantly in the near future. Survey AUVs are usually operated today with continuous monitoring from a surface vessel. In many cases, the high cost of the vehicle combined with the possibility of problems makes continuous monitoring prudent. This situation is certain to change as navigation techniques evolve and operational confidence improves.

Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet (2009)

When vehicle operations have reached a level of maturity that does not include continuous monitoring, oceanographic vessels will be needed to service fleets of AUVs. Autonomous system operations will require ships that are equipped with specialized acoustic systems, lab space and berthing for operators, and launch and recovery of OTS handling gear.

Acoustic systems used to track multiple vehicles using ultrashort baseline USBL navigation with integrated acoustic communications capabilities will be required for sophisticated multivehicle operations. These systems will likely become part of the vessel infrastructure and should not be adversely affected by noise radiated by the vessel. Safe and efficient launch and recovery of a variety of AUVs will also place demands on future vessel design. The operation of multiple AUVs from a single vessel will require careful layout of deck space and may even require a different trade-off between deck and laboratory space.

Oceanography: Science for Survival 1964 US Navy; US Oceanographic Program

Furthermore, the deck used for AUV recovery, whether aft or amidships, would benefit from being closer to the waterline than it is on most current research vessels. AUVs are also likely to alter the composition of seagoing scientific teams with possible impact on lab space and berthing.

Fleets of AUVs could generate very large datasets requiring teams of skilled personnel for processing; alternatively, the data processing requirement could be decreased by the ability to connect to shore via broadband communications. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles A relatively new technology for oceanographic research is the unmanned aerial vehicle. Most current UAVs are derived from recent military applications and are fairly expensive and complex Winokur, As the technology becomes proven and adapted to the ocean envi- ronment, less expensive UAVs are likely to be used for research in remote areas and those with large areal extents.

As the use of ship-launched UAVs increases, launch and recovery options are likely to be factored into future ship designs. They are used for a variety of purposes, including water, rock, and biological sampling; deployment and recovery of equip- ment; collection of still and video imagery; and seafloor mapping. ROVs have a number of requirements in common with their AUV counterparts, including OTS handling systems that allow safe and efficient launch and recovery as well as limited freeboard of the deck from which they are launched.

In addition, because ROVs are attached to a ship via cable, they frequently require a specialized winch and wire system that accurately monitors the length of cable between the instrument and the vessel and can recover wire very quickly in the event unexpected entanglements are encountered. ROVs generally also need good ship DP in order to reliably navigate through treacherous terrain to acquire samples.

Support teams for ROVs can be as large as AUV teams, so similar concerns about avail- able lab space and berths apply. At present many research vessels can accommodate ROV operations without extensive modification, but use of these systems in the future would be improved by designing vessels that are more stable, with greater deck and lab space and more capable OTS launch and recovery systems.

Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet

An equally important trend will be robust ROVs that are capable of deploying and servicing heavy pieces of equipment and recovering large rock samples from the seafloor. At present, the larger ships in the fleet are equipped with the HiSeasNet system http: Several UNOLS vessels are in the process of installing a system that will provide up to kbps of addi- tional bandwidth.

It contributes to science operations by allowing the exchange of data, models, and ideas between seagoing scientists and. Satellite observations and shore- based modeling of data collected aboard ship can be used to guide an experiment, and it is expected that this will occur with increasing sophis- tication and seamlessness in the near future. If complex instrumentation breaks down, satellite Internet connections allow shipboard technicians to interact with experts ashore to troubleshoot and make repairs. Internet availability also enhances educational and outreach activities by con- necting the world to the ship through telecasts, web pages, and blogs.

It provides scientists and crew with access to the web and personal email, improving the quality of life aboard the ship and playing a significant role in crew retention. In some cases, shore-based scientists sitting in a control room could participate in or even direct the exploration and sampling of the seafloor, while stream- ing live video to aquariums, museums, and schools served as a powerful education and public outreach tool.

Science at Sea

The NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer will make extensive use of such telepresence to engage shore-based scientists and the public in ocean exploration. Within the UNOLS fleet the trend toward increasing bandwidth and decreasing costs of digital connectivity will likely influence science opera- tions. However, it is unlikely to lead to decreasing demands for science berths.

A typical science party includes personnel to control the experi- ment, run equipment, log operations, and process samples and data and provides berths to students who are receiving at-sea training and experi- ence that is critical to their career development.


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As experiments become increasingly multidisciplinary and technically complex, the demands for science berths will increase. Similarly, scheduling that optimizes the use of ship time by supporting several experiments on a single leg will also increase the demand for science berths. Viewed in this context, the emerging availability of a telepresence at sea provides a means to alleviate the pressure for science berths while enhancing the efficiency of operations.

Although it is technically feasible to participate in science operations from a shore-based control center, it is difficult over the long term to balance the regular routine of shore-based life with the unpredictable hour schedule of operations and decision making at sea. Instead, telepresence is likely to become a useful tool for involving shore-based scientists and technicians in intense components of a cruise that last only for a short duration, data analysis tasks that can. The OOI aims to establish an interactive, globally distributed network of sensors in the oceans that will use pioneering tech- nology to facilitate new research approaches.

The system will have three components: These three field components will be integrated by a system-wide cyberinfrastructure that will allow scientists to access data in near real time and adapt their experi- ments to changing conditions. Since , the design of the OOI has evolved considerably in the face of technical challenges and budgetary constraints.

As a result, the ship time requirements are substantially less than initially envisioned. In the current plan data from NSF, , the global component is composed of arrays of three to four moorings and accompanying gliders deployed at four sites: Approximately one month of Global class ship time per site will be required annually to install and service the global stations.

The regional cabled component includes three science nodes on the Juan de Fuca plate and will require approximately two months of a Global class ship and ROV to service each year. The coastal component comprises a variety of moorings, gliders, and AUVs that will be deployed in the permanent Endurance Array off the coast of the northeast Pacific and in the moveable.

The coastal arrays will require approximately four months of combined Intermediate and Local ship time per year. The needs of the OOI are significantly different. Installation and maintenance of OOI components would benefit from large deck spaces, the ability to lift and deploy heavy loads over the side, DP systems that can hold station in high latitudes and rough weather, the ability to have ROV operations, and the ability to store and install short lengths of cable. In particular, they note that the new Ocean class vessels are not particularly well suited for ocean observatory operations.

As discussed further in Chapter 4, the Science Mission Requirements SMR for Ocean class ships call for the ability to hold station in sea states up to 5, wind speeds up to 35 knots, and currents up to 2 knots. These specifications may not be sufficient for observatory purposes. In addition the SMR provides for only square feet of aft deck space and winches and cranes that are similar to the current Global vessels and thus not well suited to heavy lifting.

In addition the SMR calls for only science berths, which may be inadequate for the long cruises to service buoys in remote locations or for housing the ROV, engineering, and science teams necessary for operations on the regional cabled observatory.

Consensus Report

However, response cruises or short repair cruises with an ROV could conceivably be staged with an Ocean class ship. Science teams often brought their own experienced technicians to maintain and operate the equipment they brought aboard. Today, fewer seagoing scientists employ full-time techni- cians, and the array and complexity of both installed shipboard scientific equipment and user-supplied equipment has greatly expanded. As a result, shipboard science technicians must now play a variety of roles.

UNOLS institutions are finding it hard to recruit qualified technical support with such broad experience.

In addition, the funded complement of shipboard technicians on UNOLS vessels is currently limited by supporting federal agencies, which has helped to slow growth in technical support costs. Ship operators, however, see the need for more, better-trained shipboard science techni- cians. The two shipboard technicians now carried on general purpose Global class vessels are a minimum for most cruises, and on many cruises they simply cannot attend fully to all of their assigned tasks.

Future trends regarding shipboard support indicate that both the increasing complexity of tasks and the shortfall of technical expertise will continue in the near future. Future tasks will include facilitating ship- to-shore communications; supporting more extensive AUV, UAV, and ROV operations; servicing ocean observatory sensors and infrastructure, managing and interpreting larger and more complex datasets; and sup- porting shore-based as well as shipboard needs.

In this mode, technical expertise and training become critical to mission success. In addition, seagoing technicians will be responsible for the safe operation of simultaneous tasks and balancing constraints such as space and power requirements. If more technicians are needed for ship or equipment support in the future, there will be further demand to find highly qualified personnel. Sharing technical personnel between operat- ing institutions may alleviate some of these issues, providing expertise and steady employment.

However, this issue is unlikely to impact the design of future ships, with the exception of science berthing. Ocean observatories and autonomous vehicles will impact future vessel design requirements for acoustic communications, deck space, payload, berthing, launch and recovery, and stability but will not lessen the need for vessels them- selves. Aloft sensors, especially those used for calibration of satellite data, will require high spaces with adequate lines of sight.

There is need for increased ship-to-shore bandwidth, in order to facilitate real-time, shore- based modeling and data analysis in support of underway programs, allow more participation of shore-based scientists via telepresence, and increase opportunities for outreach. Dynamic positioning systems are very likely to become standard components of oceanographic research vessels to support increasing use of offboard vehicles that require precise positioning.

Future research vessels will require improved over-the-side handling systems to facilitate deployment and recovery of instruments in higher sea states. Laboratory and deck spaces will increase in size, in order to allow deployment, recovery, and maintenance of large and technically complex instruments such as AUVs, ROVs, and large systems e. Servicing ocean observatories and launching and recovering autonomous vehicles will result in increased demands for ship time.

To support these systems and data, more highly qualified and trained seagoing technicians will be needed. Your list has reached the maximum number of items. Please create a new list with a new name; move some items to a new or existing list; or delete some items. Your request to send this item has been completed. Citations are based on reference standards. However, formatting rules can vary widely between applications and fields of interest or study.

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