Breaking the Ice
R/V Sikuliaq completes preliminary acceptance trials
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) ice-capable research vessel R/V Sikuliaq conducted preliminary acceptance trials on the Great Lakes at the end of February, and NSF planners hope to have her in the Washington, D.C., area for a summer visit while completing the remainder of her testing along the east coast.
The NSF-owned research vessel is a 261-foot ship that the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences will operate as part of the U.S. academic research fleet. R/V Sikuliaq is uniquely equipped to operate in ice-choked waters and will be able to do so in extreme ecosystems, especially in the Arctic region, serving the science and engineering research communities for decades to come.
By late September, R/V Sikuliaq is expected to begin funded science, but the historically cold winter on the Great Lakes gave an ideal opportunity to assess her performance in ice ahead of more formal trials. Video is available of R/V Sikuliaq returning from her preliminary acceptance trials, and here are a few snapshots courtesy of Matthew Hawkins, a program director in NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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