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One of a Kind

Say goodbye to a submarine you probably didn’t even know existed:

The specialized submarine has performed a variety of missions that included search, object recovery, geological survey, oceanographic research, and installation and maintenance of underwater equipment. Following the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, the NR-1 was used to search for, identify and recover critical parts of the Challenger spacecraft.

She has also recovered weapons from the ocean floor in 1976, discovered three wrecks along the Mediterranean trade route at the Skerki Bank in 1995, surveyed the remains of the USS Monitor and USS Akron in 2002, and explored the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico in 2007…

According to the U.S. Navy fact file on the deep submergence craft, the NR-1 can perform a variety of tasks, including underwater search and recovery, oceanographic research missions and installation and maintenance of underwater equipment, to a depth of over half a mile.

Its unique features include extendible bottoming wheels, three viewing ports, exterior lighting and television and still cameras for color photographic studies, an object recovery claw, a manipulator that can be fitted with various gripping and cutting tools, and a work basket that can be used in conjunction with the manipulator to deposit or recover items in the sea.

The submarine also contains sophisticated electronics and computers that aid in navigation, communications, and object location and identification. It is capable of maneuvering or holding a steady position on or close to the seabed or underwater ridges, detecting and identifying objects at a considerable distance, and even lifting objects off the ocean floor.

Impressive. And as with the SR-71, a tiny little conspiratorial part of my brain wonders if this thing is being replaced because something new and even more capable has come into operation…

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