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Old 16th Feb 2017, 09:29 PM   #1
ccclarke
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Default Misc - Project AZORIAN

This is a long-term modeling/animation project I've been working on as time allows.

For those unfamiliar with AZORIAN, it was the most audacious ocean engineering project ever undertaken.

In 1968, the Russians searched in vain for a lost Golf II submarine. The US surreptitiously located and surveyed the wreckage in 17,000 feet of water. If the submarine could be raised, a great deal of useful intelligence could be exploited. AZORIAN was born.

In the summer of 1975, the purpose-built, heavy lift ship, Glomar Explorer, (operating under a cover story of harvesting manganese nodules from the seabed) left Hawaii to begin the salvage operation. It carried a Lockheed-built CV or Capture Vehicle, stowed out of sight in a moon pool, attached to a gimbal-stabilized drill rig platform. The platform contained the largest bearing assemblies ever built.

When the ship was moored onsite --with the aid of positioning thrusters, the bottom floor of the moon pool was retracted and the CV was lowered toward the seabed using long lengths of drill pipe connected topside.

I've included a shot of the CV on the way down, with one occlusion shot (during the early part of the build) showing some of the CV thruster and Hydraulic PV (Pressure Vessel) details.

There are three other models in various stages of construction. The Golf II, The Glomar Explorer, and the HMB-1, --the largest submersible barge ever built. It was used as a concealed workspace to assemble the CV, then submerged under the Glomar Explorer which lifted it inside the moon pool. The barge has a retractable roof to allow the CV to be transferred upwards. The HMB-1 was later used as an enclosed assembly space for the stealth ship, Sea Shadow.

Of all the models, the CV had the weakest reference material available, but this is about as accurate as one is going to get unless the blueprints are ever released. (Not!)

The Glomar Explorer lift ship is a maze of piping and structural platforms. I've spent months on the gimbaled platform alone, used to keep the drill pipe straight to aid in compensation for the ship's heave and roll during operations. When complete, (and there's no telling when) I'll add the next parts of the story here.

All work done in Lightwave3D. To be continued. . .

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Old 18th Feb 2017, 10:36 AM   #2
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Wow !!
What an interesting subject, lovely level of detail. Looking forward to seeing this develop.
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 06:05 PM   #3
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Very nice subject indeed! And I love that underwater render. In style it reminds me a little of "The Abyss". Very cool!
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 05:03 AM   #4
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Thanks!

Japa has a nice workflow example for ocean depth cutaways I may include for waterline renders of the Hughes Glomar Explorer. Thanks for sharing the tip Japa!

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