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Spinoff For Deepsea DrillshipsFor deepwater operations the self-propelled oil drillship is employed. This type of vessel resembles a cargo ship except for its large derrick, which supports the drilling equipment. Extending from the drillship to the well thousands of feet steel tube usually one to two feet in diameter. The drilling equipment, or drill string, is lowered to the well through this riser. The riser is not rigid nor strictly vertical; it is described by one expert as "a very long piece of spaghetti," held in tension at the well and at the ship end by strong cables. Obviously, the ship must remain often for months-in a position directly over the well. If it were to drift excessively forward, aft or to either side, its movement could snap the riser and disrupt operations at a cost of millions. That's where space technology is playing a part. The same technology employed to locate a spacecraft in orbit and maintain a precise position is applicable to drillship operation. In space, automatic navigation equipment sights on reference points-the Earth, the sun or other stars--to determine spacecraft location. If the space mission requires the spacecraft to hold a certain position, it is accomplished by the firing of computer- directed control thrusters. Two major aerospace companies- Honeywell Inc. and TRW Inc.-have applied their extensive experience in spacecraft positioning and control to the offshore drilling technique known as dynamic positioning, meaning holding the drillship in precise position over the work site.
Document ID
Document Type
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1979
Publication Information
Publication: Spinoff 1979
Subject Category
Technology Utilization and Surface Transportation
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20070019711Analytic PrimarySpinoff 1979