The US Navy has christened the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) at a ceremony held at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed in Anacortes, Washington, US.
The vessel has been named to honour the legendary astronaut and first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, who was also an aeronautics pioneer and explorer for Nasa, serving as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator.
Naval Research chief rear admiral Matthew Klundersaid: "R/V Neil Armstrong will play a pivotal role in teaching the Navy about the ocean so we can more effectively plan our operations around the world."
The Neil Armstrong-class of research vessels feature a modern suite of oceanographic equipment, state-of-the-art acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans as well as advanced over-the-side handling gear to deploy and retrieve scientific instruments.
Additional features of the vessels include emissions controls for stack gasses, and new information technology tools both for monitoring shipboard systems and for communicating with land-based sites worldwide.
To meet a wide variety of oceanographic research challenges in the coming decades, the vessels are integrated with enhanced modular onboard laboratories and extensive science payload capacity.
The astronaut's widow and sponsor of the ship Carol Armstrong said: "Now the R/V Neil Armstrong will provide a continuum of exploration for the next 50 years."
Manned by a commercial crew, R/V Neil Armstrong will be operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution under a contract with the US government and will replace the ageing R/V Knorr (AGOR 15).
Image: US Navy's R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) during christening ceremony. Photo: courtesy of US Navy by John F Williams/Released.