The MALCOLM BALDRIGE is commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce. It is a 278 foot oceanographic research vessel that operates out of Miami, Florida. The ship left Miami on February 13, 1995 and is currently on the first leg of an around-the-world oceanographic research cruise that will take us around the Cape of Good Hope this month, into the Indian Ocean for 7 months of work, and then finally into the Pacific Ocean late in 1995. Our return transit through the Panama Canal will be in January 1996, so that we will complete our circumnavigation just about one year after we departed home port.
The NOAA Ship MALCOLM BALDRIGE is 278 feet long, with a beam of 51 feet, a draft of 18 feet, and a displacement of 2963 tons. On some of the cruises during the year the ship will provide accommodations for 10 commissioned officers, 43 crew, and up to 29 scientists. MALCOLM BALDRIGE is basically a "floating laboratory" complete with a scientific data center providing over 2000 square feet of working space. There is also space for self-contained laboratory vans which will be placed on the stern. These vans accommodate specialized sampling, processing, and analysis equipment not available as permanent installed equipment on the ship. The scientific computer system for the ship consists of two Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Alpha 3000 workstations. These computers, operating at 225 Mega Hertz, have over 40 individual sensors connected to them providing data and computational power to the scientists.
The commissioned officers aboard the MALCOLM BALDRIGE are members of NOAA Corps, the Nation's smallest uniform service. The 400 officers of the NOAA Corps command NOAA's ocean-going fleet, pilot NOAA aircraft and serve in a variety of scientific and management positions with NOAA laboratories and offices ashore.
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