Archive for the ‘Submarines’ Category

Confederate sub’s weapon killed its own crew, researchers find

August 24th, 2017

The Confederate submarine CSS H. L. Hunley bears the distinction of being the first submarine to ever sink an enemy ship. But the Hunley, a work of state-of-the-art engineering for its time, never returned from that mission on February 17, 1864. Instead, after exploding a “torpedo” below the waterline of the Union sloop-of-war USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, the sub was lost at sea. 

Just how the sub was lost had been a mystery for over a century. The Hunley would not be found again until it was discovered on the floor of Charleston Bay in 1995. The sub was recovered five years later—largely intact, with the remains of its crew all at their stations. Based on the findings of Clemson University archaeologists who examined and restored the sub, it did not appear any attempt was made by the crew to escape.

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Biggest amateur-built sub sinks—owner is suspected of killing passenger

August 11th, 2017

Enlarge / The UV3 Nautilus in early sea trials in 2008. (credit: Frumperino)

Believe it or not, there’s a crowdsourced, open source non-profit attempting to build a sea-launched suborbital rocket. Called Copenhagen Suborbitals, it even had access to a sub. A club associated with the venture completed a submarine in 2008, designed by Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor who is co-founder of the group. That submarine is now at the bottom of the sea, and Madsen is being held by Danish authorities on suspicion of “unlawful killing”—a precursor charge to manslaughter or murder.

The UV3 Nautilus was the third and largest submarine effort by the club, costing $200,000 to construct. It served as a workhorse for Copenhagen Suborbitals, helping push the group’s Sputnik rocket launch platform into position on a number of occasions. Nautilus is—or was—powered by two diesel engines above the surface and by batteries underwater. While it could hold a crew of four underwater, all of its controls could be managed by a single person from its control room.

By 2011, the sub needed an overhaul. But the repairs required more than Copenhagen Suborbitals could afford to sink into the Nautilus. So in 2013, the group launched an Indiegogo campaign to get it back in the water. In a video, Madsen described the sub and the inspiration behind it.

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