Naval Undersea Warfare Center enters partnership to build underwater station

PROVIDENCE – The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport has entered into an agreement with Proteus Ocean Group to build an underwater “space station” to be located off the Caribbean island of Curacao. 

The research facility will serve as an underwater habitat where scientists, innovators, private citizens, the public sector and global customers can live underwater to study the ocean environment and related technology for extended periods of time, according to a news release. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art scientific laboratories, next-generation robotics, access to unique training ranges, high-quality living accommodations, and a digital video production facility to deliver livestreaming for research and educational programming. 

“NUWC Division Newport has over 150 years of experience developing undersea technologies, including Ocean & Biological Inspired Sciences. We actively partner with other organizations to make this expertise and technology available for use in both public and private sectors,” Jason Gomez, chief technology officer at NUWC Newport, said in a statement. “We are very excited to collaborate with PROTEUS and explore the use of habitats for research purposes.” 

In accordance with the U.S. Federal Technology Transfer Act, the agreement will enable collaborative discussions between both the NUWC and Proteus Ocean Group and to drive ideas and concepts regarding habitat design and mission operations. 

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“We welcome NUWC’s experience and collaboration, and the opportunity to see how technologies derived from U.S. Navy research can be used for civilian applications,” Fabien Cousteau, founder and chief oceanic explorer of Proteus Ocean Group, said in a statement. “Important partnerships like this one are vital to ensure a safe and secure path forward as we work together to advance ocean exploration, now and in the future.” 

Per the agreement, NUWC and the Proteus Ocean Group may share research initiatives, lessons learned from similar past projects, audiovisual content to become part of future training and educational materials, and operational procedures in support of human safety and undersea operations and will explore ways in which NUWC can bridge the technology gap between basic research and field deployment through use of the PROTEUS platform. The parties will also work together to communicate their activities to increase public engagement across the blue economy.