Sea Technology

MAY 2017

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www.sea-technology.com May 2017 / st 33 O wned by the United States Office of Naval Research and operated by Scripps Insti- tution of Oceanography, RV Sally Ride is the U.S.'s newest Ocean Class Auxiliary Gen- eral Oceanographic Research (AGOR) vessel. Designed to perform multidisciplinary oceanographic research world- wide, it is also the 12th ves- sel to be added to the unique HiSeasNet, a global maritime satellite communications net- work set up and run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at the Univer- sity of California, San Diego (https://hiseasnet.ucsd.edu). Established in 2002 with a prototype on the RV Roger Revelle for operations in the Pacific Ocean, HiSeasNet today meets the demanding connectivity needs of the U.S.'s mod- ern oceanographic research ships, which are essentially mo- bile scientific computing infrastructures with terascale com- puting facilities, petascale storage, and high-performance data visualization and analytics. A myriad of ship's systems, from propulsion to navigation also rely on this computing infrastructure, and everything is connected to the ship's net- work. Scientists and crew add to the infrastructure when they come aboard with laptops, tablets and smartphones— which also place significant demand on the network. The computer labs and shipboard networks have capa- bilities on par with their shore counterparts in every area but one: Internet bandwidth. Lacking fiber-optic cables that span the oceans, satellite-based Internet access is the only viable option. However, the satellite space segment is costly, and the bandwidth limitations present a range of financial, technical, operational and social challenges. Usually pro- vided by maritime satellite service providers, connectivity at sea is not always delivered with a deep knowledge of the specific end-user needs. As a university-run service for uni- versity-operated vessels, HiSeasNet has developed as a vital resource for the University–National Oceanographic Labo- ratory System research fleet. Global Scalability HiSeasNet is a truly global network, routinely delivering standard connectivity of 1 to 2 Mbps to ships operating in the Atlantic Ocean Region and Pacific Ocean Region on both Ku-band and C-band. Services are delivered over Intelsat's global satellite network, and the architecture of HiSeasNet is designed to support the seam- less transition of a ship from one satellite to another during a cruise. Scalability is critical to meeting the dynamic needs of each vessel in the fleet in addition to the scientific and academic objectives of the home institutions. While the standard throughput per ves- sel is designed to meet everyday ship operational, scientific party and crew welfare requirements, the ability to easily boost bandwidth for specific cruises—where the scientific and educational goals may require faster connectivity for temporary periods—is essential to HiSeasNet users. The cost to operate today's advanced oceanographic re- search vessels can be over $40,000 per day. The RV Neil Armstrong is a new ship and has 24 science berths and 20 crew berths. Assuming that all 24 science berths have dou- ble occupancy, the science party as a whole is limited to 48. Telepresence is a technology platform that can be employed to extend the shipboard lab to specialists on the shore, and likewise to connect subject matter experts on the shore to experiments on the ship in current time. Telepresence is also a cost-effective outreach vehicle to share science in action with school-age youth and the larger public. The Inner Space Center (ISC) at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography is a leader in tele- presence. ISC has developed telepresence hubs on the shore and mobile rigs that can be deployed on research vessels. The ISC technical solution allows scientists on the shore to communicate with their counterparts at sea and monitor the HiSeasNet—Any Ocean, Any Data, Any Time Enabling High-Speed, Scalable Internet Bandwidth for Research Vessels By Wes Schenck The HiSeasNet Earth station antennas at the Scripps Institu- tion of Oceanography in San Diego, with systems integration engineer and HiSeasNet lead, Kevin Walsh.

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