A deep submergence vehicle operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Alvin has made more than 4,200 deep-ocean dives since 1964. Lockheed Martin Corp. was contracted in 2007 by WHOI with funding provided by the National Science Foundation to design a Replacement Human Occupied Vehicle (RHOV) which would take advantage of recent technological advances to provide expanded depth capability. This paper discusses the criteria, evaluation, and selection of the method of descent and ascent, a high-level naval architecture trade which drives the general arrangement of the entire vehicle. Constrained by vehicle performance requirements, exploration of the system design parameters through dynamic simulation and CFD modeling allows for design optimization. Considering the transient features of ascent and descent such as dynamic ballast pumping and variation in fluid and vehicle density driven by hydrostatic pressure, the preferred method of vertical travel for the RHOV is a level vehicle at zero angle of pitch with velocity orthogonal to the free surface.

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