OceanGate Launches 5-Man Submersible Titan to Survey the RMS Titanic
OceanGate Inc., a provider of manned-submersible services, announces that it has launched Titan, formerly known as Cyclops 2, the world’s only privately owned manned-submersible capable of reaching Titanic depths of 4000 meters.
Titan is comprised of two major components, a 5-man submersible and an integrated launch and recovery platform. This tandem is scheduled to undergo sea trials in Puget Sound through March 2018, with deep sea certification in the Bahamas in April. The team will then mobilize to St. John's, Newfoundland, in late June for the first manned expedition to the RMS Titanic since 2005.
To accomplish this expedition, OceanGate engineered and built Titan using some of the most innovative and advanced technology and materials, including:
- A filament wound carbon fiber hull - the largest of any manned submersible
- Two titanium hemispheres - the forward dome hinges to serve as the access hatch for easy entry and exit
- The largest viewport of any deep-sea manned submersible
- Electronics and thruster control pods housed outside the pressure hull to increase space available for crew and equipment onboard
- A fiberglass hull insert to prevent condensation from dripping on the crew and to eliminate electrical ground faults - two problems that plague metal hulled submersibles
- A large digital display that streams a live feed from multiple exterior 4K cameras and also acts as a door to the aft equipment bay
- Acoustic modem for text-based communication between sub and surface ship
- A proprietary steering control system using a standard Playstation® controller
Major components of Titan's pressure hull.
One of the most significant innovations is Titan’s proprietary real-time hull health monitoring (RTM) system. Titan is the only known manned research submersible to employ an integrated real-time hull health monitoring system. Utilizing nine acoustic sensors and eighteen strain gauges co-located throughout the pressure vessel boundary the RTM system makes it possible to analyze the effects of changing pressure on the vessel as the submersible dives deeper and accurately assess the integrity of the structure. This onboard health analysis monitoring system provides early warning detection for the pilot with enough time to arrest the descent and safely return to surface.
Safety is our number one priority," said Stockton Rush, OceanGate CEO. "We believe real-time health monitoring should be standard safety equipment on all manned-submersibles."
The real-time health monitoring system will make it possible for the team to take a methodical approach to live testing. During the deep-sea certification dives in the Bahamas, Stockton Rush will become the second person in history to dive solo to 4000 meters. These dives will validate the design depth and Titan’s maximum depth dive will be certified by an independent certification organization.
Titan will be equipped with multiple 4K cameras, multibeam sonar for navigation, data tablets with a wireless connection to onboard computer systems, 50 thousand lumens of external light, a laser scanner, and four electric thrusters for maximum maneuverability.
Titan is the second in the series of Cyclops-class submersibles. OceanGate has operated Cyclops since 2015 in three oceans to depths of almost 500 meters.
Project Cyclops was born out of OceanGate’s appreciation for the complexity of subsea environments and the need for a diverse set of tools and technology to address operational requirements below 500 meters. Through strategic partnerships, OceanGate applies the latest advances in material science and technology from other industries to meet the challenges faced in exploration. With the majority of the ocean's seabed still unexplored, and as commercial and scientific entities continue to expand initiatives to access potential resources from the ocean seabed, OceanGate satisfies the demand for a practical subsea vessel capable of efficiently accessing these resources.