Sonardyne International Ltd

Sonardyne in Space - Wireless Integrity Monitoring at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab Video

We had the opportunity to showcase our latest optical, wireless, imaging, and acoustic technology alongside OneSubsea and Saab at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL).

NASA's NBL is an underwater training facility used to prepare astronauts for the micro-gravity conditions they will experience in space. At 202 feet long, 101 feet wide and 40 feet deep, and holding 6.2 million gallons of water, the pool is the largest indoor body of water in the world and contains a full size replica of the International Space Station (ISS).

Around the pool, we deployed acoustic data telemetry, sonar imaging and optical communications technologies to simulate some of the typical remote inspection and intervention scenarios its low risk technology can be utilised for. 6G sensor nodes suspended mid-water were used to show how critical data from remote assets such as satellite wells can be recovered using robust, long range acoustic communications. On the pool floor was Sentry IMS, a wide area sonar that automatically warns operators of integrity breaches around subsea oil and gas assets. Positioning moving targets in the water was Ranger 2, a high accuracy system for tracking and commanding ROVs and AUVs as they carry out their work.

Our high speed optical data modem, BlueComm, was installed on Saab Seaeye’s Sabertooth hybrid ROV/AUV. A link was established to a matching BlueComm unit on apparatus designed to replicate a subsea manifold. This enabled through-water wireless control of the vehicle including commanding the actuation of a standard Class 4 subsea valve. A simultaneous video feed provided by BlueComm from the Sabertooth to poolside control allowed the vehicle’s pilot, and the gathered audience, to monitor the valve operation.

After docking in a separate, optically enabled subsea docking station, BlueComm was also used to harvest mission data at very high data rates and to provide the vehicle with details of its next mission. With the exception of an acoustic emergency stop using our WSM6+ mini-beacon, BlueComm was the only means of communication between the Sabertooth ROV/AUV and shore during the entire 30 minute demonstration run.

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