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SeaOrbiter Logo.png
Official Logo of the SeaOrbiter Project
General characteristics
Type: Research/Semi-submersible
Height: 51 m (167 ft)

The SeaOrbiter, also known as Sea Orbiter (two words), is an oceangoing research vessel. Construction was to begin in late 2014.[1][2] The SeaOrbiter is planned to allow scientists and others a residential yet mobile research station positioned under the oceans' surface. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines.[3][4]

SeaOrbiter is a project of the "Floating oceanographic laboratory" organisation. It is headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien. The cost is expected to be around $52.7 million.[5]


The laboratory is semi-submersible oceangoing craft and weighs 1000 tonnes. It has a total height of 51 meters with 31 meters below sea level.

It is designed to float vertically and drift with the ocean currents but has two small propellers allowing it to modify its trajectory and maneuver in confined waters. Underwater robots can be sent from the laboratory to explore the seabed. The hull is made of an alloy of aluminum and magnesium, and is five times thicker than that of a conventional vessel.

Its vertical alignment in the sea will leave a small part visible above the surface with much larger accommodation and laboratories below the sea's surface. Some levels will have a cabin pressure equal to the external water pressure allowing divers to live for extended periods at depth and make frequent excursions.

Visible part[edit]

  • Deck +18.50 - lookout post with a view of 360 °
  • Deck +11.50 - Boats storage
  • Deck +9.40 - Upper deck for sea operations, engines rooms and storage
  • Deck +6.80 - Diving room and scientific wet lab
  • Deck +4.20 - Command bridge
  • Deck +1.60 - Multidisciplinary modular laboratory, medical zone and fitness area

Submerged part[edit]

  • Deck -1.00 - Bunks area and Captain's room
  • Deck -3.60 - Bunks area and VIP cabin
  • Deck -6.20 - Communication zone and sanitary area
  • Deck -8.80 - Living quarters in atmospheric pressure
  • Deck -11.60 - Living quarters in pressurized mode, underwater garage and diving zone
  • Deck -13.60 - Technical zone, dive pit and access to sub[6]


Construction was due to start in 2014; however, as of May 2015, only the Eye of SeaOrbiter has been completed.[7][8]

See also[edit]

  • Ben Franklin (PX-15) The brainchild of explorer and inventor Jacques Piccard. The 1968 research vessel was designed to house a six-man crew for up to 30 days of oceanographic study in the depths of the Gulf Stream.


  1. ^ "SeaOrbiter set for construction". 21 Feb 2014. Retrieved 18 Jun 2014.
  2. ^ "SeaOrbiter Construction Slated for 2014". 14 Nov 2013. Retrieved 18 Jun 2014.
  3. ^ Allen, J.B. (December 2011). "Nature: Open-Water Investigator". Boys' Life.
  4. ^ "One giant leap for ocean exploration... what the world's first 'space station of the sea' will look like". The Daily Mail. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  5. ^ Steele, Billy. "SeaOrbiter to begin construction by year's end, project price tag clocks in at $52.7 million". Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  6. ^ SeaOrbiter Booklet
  7. ^ "Eye of SeaOrbiter Now Completed". Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  8. ^ "The first part of SeaOrbiter has been built!". Retrieved 11 April 2017.

See also[edit]

  • NEEMO, ongoing NASA program

External links[edit]