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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is responsible for maintaining and operating the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF) assets Alvin (MUV), Jason (ROV), and SENTRY (AUV) on behalf of the Office of Naval Research (ONR). OutsideInnovation serves as an independent contractor for the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering teams in the Alvin and Jason groups.

 

While onboard, OutsideInnovation’s responsibilities typically include the following: vehicle operations, vehicle maintenance/repairs, preparation of subsea equipment, design/maintenance of custom subsea hardware and support for scientific team members as needed. Like any job at sea it is necessary to be flexible and versatile to ensure mission success and we do our best to deliver both on every job.

OutsideInnovation has been providing engineering services to WHOI since 2019.

VEHICLE OPERATIONS

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First and foremost, we are responsible for working with the operations teams to launch, recover, and pilot the vehicles while they are subsea. This requires attention to detail, a high level of communication, teamwork, and technical experience with the vehicles that can be very hard to come by.

Whether launching and recovering, or operating subsea, keeping the vehicles operating safely is a team effort. Team members take turns operating in the various positions and everyone involved must have a high level of task ownership, accountability, and reliability in order for the entire operation to succeed.

The technical challenges of operating subsea primarily center around piloting, navigation, communication, vehicle troubleshooting for technical issues, and completing complex piloting tasks per the needs of the scientists onboard.

VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

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The deep sea can be a hostile and unforgiving place and it takes its toll on the vehicles. Add to that the ever changing needs of the scientists and constant changes to the vehicle platform, and it is easy to see why the vehicles of the NDSF are in constant need of maintenance.

After every dive the vehicles are checked for damage and any issues are evaluated and fixed on the spot. There are also consumable items and routine maintenance that must be performed periodically regardless of damage.

Additionally, the science experiements that are mounted to the platform routinely required adjustments or repairs. At the end of the day our primary job is to collect information and samples on behalf of the scientists and we are constantly focused on keeping the vehicles and their equipment ready to complete that task.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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