R/V Neil Armstrong Arrives in Woods Hole | POGO

R/V Neil Armstrong Arrives in Woods Hole

The research vessel Neil Armstrong was met by a jubilant crowd at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) dock Wednesday, as it arrived to its home port for the first time, escorted by the WHOI coastal research vessel R/V Tioga, two Coast Guard boats and fireboats from neighboring towns.

“What a wonderful day for Woods Hole, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the entire ocean science community,” enthused WHOI President and Director Mark Abbott. “We’re very proud to have been selected by the Office of Naval Research to operate the Neil Armstrong. It is an enormous honor and a great responsibility.” His remarks also noted the key role the National Science Foundation has played in funding research at sea and science operations.

Six years ago, the U.S. Navy announced plans to construct two ships in a new Ocean Class of research vessels and in 2010, awarded WHOI the no-cost lease to operate the first of the ships. Two years later, the Navy announced the first ship would be named Neil Armstrong and its sister ship, to be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, would be named Sally Ride. The 238-ft. Neil Armstrong is the newest ship in the U.S. academic fleet, and one of just seven in that fleet capable of accessing all but ice-covered areas of the global ocean.

The Neil Armstrong is the most recent in a long string of ships operated by WHOI since 1930, including Atlantis, the nation's first vessel constructed specifically to carry out oceanographic research, and the namesake of the space shuttle Atlantis.

In addition to remarks by Abbott and WHOI chairman of the Board of Trustees David Scully, the event was also marked by comments from Dr. Frank Herr, head of the U.S. Navy’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing department, Congressman Bill Keating (D-Mass.), and Carol Armstrong, wife of the late Neil Armstrong.

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