Now, Rush intends to go even further than chartering the company's two existing submarines. He's making his own -- a manned, deep-sea submersible made of lightweight and ultra-strong carbon fiber.
In collaboration with the
OceanGate began in 2009 with a five-seater submarine it purchased from a private owner. The company's current flagship sub, Antipodes, was introduced in 2010 and has made 130 dives in the past two years. Its missions have been as diverse as shipwreck exploration in
Cyclops would hardly be the first nongovernmental sub to dive the 10,000-foot depth --
Rush says the majority of private subs around today are strapped to yachts or reserved for government-sanctioned research dives, leaving very few available for commercial or private charter. Research teams that wish to use government subs have to go through a lengthy and costly process. Plus, providing subs solely for research purposes isn't economically viable.
So earlier this year when co-founder
"I saw this burning commercial need for a sub like Cyclops, and I knew I could build it," he says.
Rush says Cyclops is "like going to a Swiss Army knife from a scalpel." It's designed to suit missions ranging from film crews, to research teams, to oil companies -- all in one machine.
The vessel's hull will be made from 7 inches of razor-thin layers of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It's the same kind of material that forms the wings on
Traditionally, such vessels are made with steel to withstand incredible pressure. Rush says using the lighter carbon fiber cuts down on bulk and material while still being ultra-strong. That allows for a faster sub, a larger viewing window and an entirely different deep sea experience.
OceanGate expects it will cost between
Rush says there's a lot more money than people think in the deep sea industry.
The largest opportunity for Cyclops will likely be from the oil industry's needs for environmental impact research and drilling exploration.
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