USNS Maury Oceanographic Survey Ship (T-AGS 66) Moon Pool Launch & Recovery System (MLARS)
Winners: Sean Kery, Scott CR Henry, William J. Johnson and Darren C. Goff
CSC created the concept and design for the launch and recovery system critical to the U.S. Navy's oceanographic survey ship USNS Maury (T-AGS 66) in less than two years, achieving success over competing strategies by providing a more mature, elegant and cost-effective solution.
The CSC team demonstrated excellence in complex systems integration by developing an innovative solution to the problem of launching and recovering autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) through a moon pool that was too small. (The moon pool is an opening at the bottom of the ship that enables AUVs to enter and exit the water.)
Successfully launching and recovering expensive, heavy and delicate gear from a vessel that is moving in significant ocean waves can be dangerous and difficult. The CSC design for the Moon Pool Launch and Recovery System (MLARS) incorporates deep domain knowledge of vessel and moon pool motions, systems design, materials for the marine environment, shipboard user interfaces and the COTS AUV systems to be handled.
The key feature of the CSC design is how the overhead trolley and lift winches adapt to change the geometry of the lift cables, so that the AUV cage can tilt to pass through the moon pool while the cursor system prevents hazardous motions. Once below the keel the cage must level out to launch and recover the AUV. Other key features included using ultra-high molecular weight plastics to guard against bio-fouling, corrosion and friction, and the application of keeper rollers to control the lift ropes. The CSC team exemplified technology excellence through its innovative and unique application of simple components to achieve a cutting edge solution.
As a result of this work, the client has recognized CSC as a leading organization to support development of the next generation of oceanographic survey ships, which are envisioned to incorporate several new capabilities and technological innovations in addition to moon pools similar to the T-AGS 66.