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New U.S. Navy research ship named after Neil Armstrong

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The U.S. Navy is naming a new ship after Purdue’s most famous alumnus.

The secretary of the Navy announced the first Armstrong-class Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) ship will be named Neil Armstrong. The vessel honors the memory of the space explorer and engineer, who also was a naval pilot before working at NASA.

Armstrong’s widow, Carol, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. That would allow her to christen the ship when it begins its maritime duties, which is expected in two to two and a half years.

The 238-foot long ship will be equipped with acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans and with modular on-board laboratories.

The AGOR, as it’s called, will map the deepest parts of the ocean and include space for research conducted by universities and national laboratories. The new class of ships will have multi-drive, low-voltage diesel electric propulsion systems designed to maintain engine efficiency while lowering maintenance and fuel costs.   

It’s under construction now at a shipyard in Washington and could begin service in late 2014. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will operate the ship for the U.S. Navy.

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