Recreational three-person sub

Recreational three-person sub
Gemini at the BBCTomorrows Worldsroad show in London
Gemini at the BBC
Tomorrows Worlds
road show in London
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Gemini at the BBCTomorrows Worldsroad show in London
Gemini at the BBC
Tomorrows Worlds
road show in London
Gemini being testingat Ifremers deep waterocean basement tankat Bolougne Sur Mer
Gemini being testing
at Ifremers deep water
ocean basement tank
at Bolougne Sur Mer
Quarter scale modelof the 3-person Aquarius
Quarter scale model
of the 3-person Aquarius
View gallery - 4 images

The Aquarius is a three person, fly-by-wire recreational submersible that will operate to depths of 50m to 100m at a maximum speed of 7 knots when it goes on sale at the end of 2004 at a cost of '500,000. Undewater engineering specialist Subeo is set to begin production of the vehicle following the successful evaluation of the Gemini, a two-man concept vehicle on which the Aquarius production vessel is based.

The vessel is powered by a sealed, maintenance-free nickle sodium battery that do not produce hydrogen gas during the charging process (making them safer than conventional lead acid batteries) and drive is provided by a newly developed integrated thruster system that needs no water seals or complex drive mechanisms. The monocoque hull design and intergated buoyancy tanks have been chosen for low-maintenance, light-weight and a more efficient manufacturing process.

The joystick-operated "drive-by-wire" controls can be operated by any of the three occupants of Aquarius and all systems information and life support data is displayed on a touch screen. The craft sustain its occupants for 2 hours underwater (plus a further 72 hour safety buffer) and the individual viewing "bubbles" provide exceptional visibility making it ideal for underwater exploration and scientific observation.

The Aquarius can travel at up to 7 knots via its 20kw thruster systems and is very stable underwater to facilitate observation and filming of marine life for recreational or commercial purposes.

A quarter scale model of Aquarius has been tested in a special Water Circulation Tank at IFREMERs (the French Marine Institute that operates the 'Nautile' deep submersible which famously discovered the Titanic) with tests confirming the maximum speed of 7-8 knots and shoowing a very low drag co-efficient.

Subeo's is basing its development in Europe and The Middle East but also has plans to expand and develop partnerships in the USA, Asia and Australia.

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