A deep sea docking station for ODYSSEY class autonomous underwater vehicles
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Under subcontract to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Sea Grant Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN) program, engineers and researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) designed, fabricated and operated a deep sea Docking Station for ODYSSEY-class autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The docking station provides shelter as well as power transfer and data exchange services for an AUV that is between autonomous midwater missions. The Station is integrated into the main tension member of a deep sea mooring system. A large subsea flotation sphere supports the mass of the Station above the seafoor. A surface expression connected by an umbilcal to the Station was capable of bi-directional satellite or radio frequency communications. Primary subsystems of the Docking Station described in this report include a dock controller with multi-sensor support, long-duration battery packs, a docking pole with a moving carage, an inductive link for power and data transfer, and information about how the Station was deployed, operated and recovered.