The US Navy will christen Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego’s newest research vessel, the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28) Aug. 9, during a ceremony held at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed in Anacortes, Washington.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named the R/V Sally Ride to honor the memory of Sally Ride, a scientist, innovator and educator. Ride was the first American woman and the youngest person in space. She later served as director of NASA’s Office of Exploration as well as the California Space Institute at University of California San Diego.
The Neil Armstrong-class, of which R/V Sally Ride is a member, features a modern suite of oceanographic equipment, state of the art acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans, advanced over-the-side handling gear to deploy and retrieve scientific instruments, emissions controls for stack gasses, and new information technology tools both for monitoring shipboard systems and for communicating with land-based sites worldwide. Enhanced modular onboard laboratories and extensive science payload capacity will provide the ships with the flexibility to meet a wide variety of oceanographic research challenges in the coming decades.
The Navy currently owns six of the nation’s largest oceanographic research ships, which support critical naval research in forward deployed areas of the world’s oceans, as well as the needs of other federal agencies. A major segment of the U.S. research fleet is now approaching the end of its service life and is in need of replacement.
R/V Sally Ride will be U.S. flagged, manned by a commercial crew, and will be operated by Scripps under a charter-party agreement with the Office of Naval Research.
R/V Sally Ride will become the fifth ship currently serving the Navy to be named for an astronaut. Others include the recently christened R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), the Mobile Landing Platform John Glenn (MLP 2), and Dry Cargo and Ammunition Ships Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) and Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3).