OceanGate submersibles: the technology powering our missions

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CYCLOPS 1
500 meters / 1,640 feet
The first of the Cyclops-class submersibles, Cyclops 1 is a fully functional prototype and platform for software, technology and equipment for Titan. Following her debut in 2015 the OceanGate crew has deployed Cyclops 1 on dozens of missions in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico.

ANTIPODES
305 meters / 1,000 feet
Utilized for shallow expeditions, Antipodes is a manned submersible that enables commercial and scientific applications for researchers, scientists, filmmakers and content providers. The two acrylic hemispherical domes provide unparalleled views and make her a ideal vessel for teams to collaborate and explore to depths of 305 meters (1,000 feet).

Submersibles vs submarines: What’s the difference?

Many people confuse submersibles with submarines, but there’s a big difference between the two. A submersible is supported by a surface vessel, platform, shore team, or sometimes a larger submarine. There are many types of submersibles, including both manned and unmanned craft, otherwise known as remotely operated vehicles or ROVs. A submarine is a fully autonomous craft, capable of renewing its own power and breathing air.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.


Meet Cyclops, a submersible capable of reaching 500 meters in depth

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Meet Cyclops, a submersible capable of reaching 500 meters in depth

In 2015, OceanGate, Inc. unveiled its next generation submersible Cyclops 1 at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry. Cyclops is used on many of the missions OceanGate Foundation supports.

From OceanGate, Inc.: “Cyclops 1 features an enhanced automated control system designed by the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington and OceanGate’s internal engineering team. Using a combination of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) technology and innovative system architecture the automated control system monitors life support, power management, navigation and other critical system diagnostics. The control system, which is also used on Titan, is revolutionizing how manned submersibles operate by increasing safety through a reduction in user error and time spent on vehicle control therefore increasing time to achieve mission objectives.”

After launch, OceanGate Foundation led “floating-and-sinking” and Cartesian diver explorations for 100+ elementary-aged students, and explained submersible operations via external tours of the sub. We also facilitated a tour of the sub by a smaller group of high school students in a skills program at Seattle’s Center for Wooden Boats.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.


Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

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Eye on the Sanctuaries Expedition: Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

From October 21-28, 2016, OceanGate Inc. and OceanGate Foundation continued the Eye on the Sanctuaries Tour with an expedition to the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary near San Francisco, California. The multi-day expedition used the 5-man submersible Cyclops 1 to explore the ocean depths to 500 meters (1600 feet) to expand our understanding of the distribution and abundance of deep-sea fish, corals, and sponges within the sanctuary.

Dive sites included:

  • Ituna Shipwreck: On March 13th, 1920, the steamship Ituna, en route from San Francisco to Reedsport, Oregon with a cargo of machinery and cement, foundered in a storm approximately 15 miles northwest of the San Francisco Lightship.
  • Cochrane Bank: At least one sensitive species, a black coral colony, had been documented here, an observation that greatly extended the northern range of this species. Manned submersible dives to survey a larger portion of the bank in the future will assess if additional black coral colonies or other sensitive species exist on the bank.
  • Rittenburg Bank: The Rittenburg Bank is a highly diverse and productive area, with one of the highest densities of sponges found along the west coast.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.


Mapping a Civil War shipwreck in zero visibility: USS Hatteras

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Mapping a Civil War shipwreck in zero visibility: USS Hatteras

OceanGate Foundation was excited to help map the wreck site of the USS Hatteras in 2012. According to Wikipedia, “The very first USS Hatteras was a 1,126-ton steamer purchased by the Union Navy at the beginning of the American Civil War. She was outfitted as a gunboat and assigned to the Union blockade of the ports and waterways of the Confederate States of America. During an engagement with the disguised Confederate commerce raider, CSS Alabama, she was taken by surprise and was sunk off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The wreck site is one of the few listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its location away from destructive surf and because of the ship’s side-wheel design, which marks the transition between wooden sailing ships and steam-powered ships.”

From September 1-30, 2012, OceanGate Foundation partnered with renowned maritime archeologist Dr. James Delgado and his team from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Texas A&M Galveston, the Texas State Historical Commission, and others. The goal was to create a thorough map of the wreck site. OceanGate Foundation provided Teledyne BlueView sonar and an operator, James Glaeser of Northwest Hydro. Partners showed up with no fewer than 15 scuba divers to assist in the setup and operation of the sonar on the ocean floor for measurement, assessment, and photography of the wreck site resting in sand, silt, and 57 feet of water. Visibility varied from ten feet down to zero, and the seas were rolling three-to-five feet. It was challenging work for people both above and below the surface but ultimately, the team succeeded in conducting the 3D sonar mapping that led to the creation of a 3D map.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.


Rescue excavation of a 1,600-year-old Roman merchantman

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.


New light on King Herod’s Harbor at Caesarea Maritima

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New light on King Herod’s Harbor at Caesarea Maritima

Beginning in 2014, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) initiated an ambitious digital archaeology project to create a high-resolution 3D map of the submerged ancient port of Caesarea Maritima, Israel. Built by King Herod the Great at the end of the first century BCE, Caesarea is recognized today as a marvel of Roman engineering and one of the most important underwater archaeological sites in the world.

Along with collaborating researchers from the Universities of Rhode Island, Louisville (Kentucky), Zagreb, Florence, and Girona, OceanGate Foundation has supported this initiative from the beginning, recognizing Caesarea not only as an important testing ground for marine science technology, but a site of ongoing and highly significant new discoveries in the history of Judaism and Christianity. A new museum opening at the site in May 2019 showcases OceanGate’s enormous contribution to Caesarea’s maritime archaeology.

While the popular tourist site has been extensively excavated since the 1960s, maps and reconstructions produced from this work were based on incomplete information and constrained by the limits of available technology. In 2010, a severe winter storm dramatically changed the underwater landscape at Caesarea, revealing many new features. This prompted the IAA to undertake a new conservation assessment of the ruins, which came to encompass the rescue excavations of a Fatimid-era gold hoard (2015) and a large fourth century CE Roman shipwreck (2016-2017), as well as numerous other discoveries. Critical to this effort were underwater 3D camera systems developed by the University of Girona, the University of Zagreb Pladypos ASV robot, AUVs from the University of Florence, and most recently, the University of Rhode Island “Digski,” a Yamaha Waverunner modified into an excavation dredge. Archaeologists Koby Sharvit and Dror Planer (IAA), Bridget Buxton (URI), and John Hale (Louisville) led the fieldwork alongside OceanGate citizen scientists and numerous students and marine robotics engineers from around the world.

By 2017, discoveries in the field plus some historical detective work led the OceanGate team to come up with several new hypotheses about the construction of the harbor and its true size, with major implications for the career of Pontius Pilate and our understanding of ancient navigation. Testing these theories, however, has required deploying and even inventing an entirely new suite of underwater tools, from the super high tech (the European robots) to the just super fun (the “Digski”). OceanGate’s yearly Caesarea expeditions are having a transformative impact on biblical history, maritime technology, and the careers of the many students who have joined the project as archaeologists and ocean engineers in training.

What’s next?

It’s hard to believe, but the IAA-OceanGate project operates on lower budgets than the Caesarea excavation projects of the 1980s and 90s. It is a small expedition that has yielded big revelations—but the best are still to come, buried deep under the preserving sand that still covers vast areas of Herod’s ancient harbor.

Would you like to be part of our ongoing discovery? Contact us for information on how you can support our next expedition to this ancient port.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.

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OceanGate Foundation is looking for passionate people to support our work.