Washington-based R&D firm OceanGate announced Wednesday that it has completed the construction and assembly of the pressure vessel of its latest deep sea manned submersible, Cyclops 2. The sub is designed to take five people to a depth of 13,000 feet, and it will be deployed in 2018 for the first manned visit to the wreck of the Titanic in more than a decade.
The pressure vessel is comprised of two titanium hemisphere, two matching titanium rings, and an eight-foot-long carbon fiber cylinder – the largest such device ever built for use in a manned submersible. The two titanium rings were permanently bonded to the ends of the carbon fiber center cylinder to form the core of the pressure vessel.
Next the team will install the electronics, navigation and life support systems. Most of the systems for Cyclops 2 are already in use on Cyclops 1, a first-generation model that can dive to up to 1,600 feet. Cyclops 2 will float out for initial testing this fall, and its first deep water dives are scheduled for early next year.
Next June, OceanGate will launch a “Titanic Survey Expedition,” with nine supernumeraries (or “mission specialists”) on board to underwrite the cost of the voyage. In addition to visiting the wreck site, the team will:
- Create a detailed 3D model of the shipwreck and portions of the debris field
- Supplement the work done by the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at Woods Hole
- Document the condition of the wreck with high-definition photographs and video.
- Document the flora and fauna inhabiting the wreck site for comparison with data collected on prior scientific expeditions
Bookings for each eight-day segment are available through London-based tour operator Blue Marble Private and are listed in the range of $105,000 per person. Adjusted for inflation, reports the Telegraph, this would be the same price as a first-class ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage.