Shackleton’s Endurance Found with Sonardyne Tech
After more than 100 years lost at more than 3,000 m underneath sea ice in the Antarctic’s Weddell Sea, the almost fully intact wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance has been found, supported with underwater navigation and positioning technology from Sonardyne.
The pioneering search, launched in February this year, saw the Endurance22 team deploy Saab Seaeye Sabertooth hybrid AUVs from the icebreaking polar supply and research ship S.A. Agulhas II.
During their hunt of the seabed, close to where the 1914-to-1917 expedition came to its end, these underwater robots used Sonardyne’s SPRINT-Nav hybrid acoustic-inertial navigation system (INS) technology to navigate their search routes. They also used Sonardyne’s AvTrak 6 tracking and telemetry transceiver to send commands and position updates from a Ranger 2 ultrashort baseline (USBL) system, also from Sonardyne, on board the S.A. Agulhas II.
For ease of deployment, the Ranger 2 was configured with a Gyro USBL transceiver that comes with inbuilt attitude, heading and reference sensor (AHRS) and is precalibrated, making it easy to deploy on vessels of opportunity. A second Ranger 2 Gyro USBL system was also on hand, ready to be deployed from the surface of the ice if the S.A. Agulhas was unable to maneuver. Both systems enable tracking at ranges beyond 7,000 m.
Sonardyne’s sister company, Voyis, also had equipment in the project. Its Insight Pro and Observer stills camera were integrated into the Saab Sabertooth to generate 3D models and capture high-resolution, true-color images of the wreck, all geolocated by Sonardyne navigation data.