OceanGate said it has started the construction of the Cyclops 2, a manned submersible with a depth range of 4,000 meters (13,125 feet).
The company has ordered two titanium hemispheres and two matching titanium to carbon fiber interface rings from Titanium Fabrication Corp. (TiFab), and a 56” diameter, 100” long carbon fiber main cylinder from Spencer Composites Corporation.
The two titanium hemispheres form the ends of the submersible’s cylindrical pressure hull that protects five crew members during deep dives. The forward hemisphere houses a 21” diameter acrylic viewport, reportedly the largest viewport of any submersible capable of these depths.
Design and engineering of Cyclops 2 began in 2013. These two orders begin the construction phase of the project. In parallel, the team is also said to be developing a mobile subsea launch and recovery system for the submersible.
“Construction of Cyclops 2 is a significant milestone in human exploration of the ocean. When completed, it will be the only privately owned submersible in the world that can take 5 people to these depths,” said Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate.
“TiFab and Spencer Composites are the ideal choices to fabricate these vital components of our new submersible. Their depth of experience, quality of work, and ability to produce these large custom shapes with exceptional precision are critical to constructing a manned submersible that can safely dive two and half miles deep,” said Rush.
Fabrication of the titanium and carbon fiber components are planned to begin immediately, with delivery scheduled for Spring 2017. When delivered, the hemispheres will be mated to each end of the filament wound carbon fiber main cylinder that forms the center section of the submersible’s pressure hull.
Following assembly of the three main components, the pressure hull will be independently tested to ensure vessel integrity before the final installation of electronics, navigation and life support systems. Most of these systems to be used on Cyclops 2 are currently in use on Cyclops 1, OceanGate’s submersible that can dive to depths of 500 meters. The first in-water dives for Cyclops 2 are planned for late 2017.