On January 15, 2014, personnel from the Physical Oceanography Division deployed a key prototype instrument system during a research cruise onboard the RV F. G. Walton Smith. Called the "Adaptable Bottom Instrument Information Shuttle System (ABIISS)", or "data pod system" for short, this instrument package is designed to inexpensively move data from bottom-mounted oceanographic instruments up to the surface and back to land via satellite. The ABIISS system has been under development at AOML for several years, and this prototype deployment about 20 miles east of Miami in the Straits of Florida is the first deep water test of the data pod system. For this test the ABIISS system is connected to an Inverted Echo Sounder (IES), and the instrument package will rest on the bottom of the Straits at approximately 800 meters depth for six months while the IES makes hourly measurements. At predetermined intervals the ABIISS system will release expendable "data pods" that will float up to the surface and transmit the data from the IES back to land via the Iridium satellite network. If all goes well, after the final data pod has been released the ABIISS control system and the IES will be recovered for future use.
Once fully developed and tested the ABIISS system will quickly be of significant benefit to two AOML projects, the Western Boundary Time Series project and the Southwest Atlantic MOC project, and ABIISS will have additional beneficial applications to outside projects in the Southern Ocean, the Indonesian Through-flow and more.
Further details about the ABIISS data pod system can be found here