SEALAB II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture:  Endbell of SEALAB II and III mounted on the outside wall of the museum

 

Picture:  Endbell from SEALAB II and III

 

 

 

The endbell from SEALAB II and III outside the
Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport

 

Close-up of the SEALAB endbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEALAB II was designed, built, and outfitted at Hunterís Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. The Navy lowered it to the sea floor off La Jolla, California, in the fall of 1965.  It was designed to house ten men at a depth of 200 feet for 30 days.  The habitat was 50í long and 12í in diameter, and included four separate areas:  entry, laboratory, galley, and living spaces. Entry while on the ocean floor was from below the habitat, with divers emerging into the pressurized habitat through an open moon pool.

               Whereas SEALAB I tested and proved the concept of saturation diving, SEALAB II provided evidence that useful work could be done.  The Navy conducted physiological and psychological studies to determine manís effectiveness underwater for an extended period.  The divers evaluated the structural engineering of the habitat. They worked on a mock-up of a submarine hull and tested undersea tools; they raised an old navy jet fighter to the surface using syntactic foam; they set up a weather station, mined ore samples, experimented with plants, and studied ocean floor geology.  They also experimented with a trained porpoise named Tuffy to do courier work between the habitat and the surface.

               Construction of SEALAB IIís cylinder endbell used technology ahead of its time.  The large dish-shaped cap was formed from a sheet of one-inch thick flat steel placed over a die. One hundred pounds of C-4 plastic explosive were distributed on the side of the blank opposite the die. The whole packageódie, blank, and charge, weighing 60 tons totalówas lowered 30 feet beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay where the explosive was detonated. In approximately .004 seconds the end bell was formed. Explosive metal shaping on this scale had never been attempted before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures below are from Walt Mazzone's archives and official US Navy photographs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture:  SEALAB II being submerged
SEALAB II being submerged

Picture: Sea Lion Samantha begging for food

Samantha the Sea Lion begs for her supper after being called to the small boat by Mike Greenwood, psychologist with SEALAB II. 
1 Oct 1965.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Robert Sonnenburg, (left) talks over the coming day's schedule with Team Leader Chief Torpedoman Robert Sheats.
5 Oct 1965.
 

Picture:  Dr. Sonnenburg in meeting with Teamleader discussing next day schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture: Chief Sheats entertains the team with his harmonica

Shorty Lyons, left, and Chief  Shipfitter Mike Meisky, right, smile after Chief Sheats entertains them with his harmonica during an underwater hootenanny. 
8 Oct 1965.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquanaut Bob Sheats is shown at the 300 foot level of  Scripps Canyon
7 Oct 1965.
Official US Navy photograph. 

Picture:  Aquanaut Sheats shown diving at the 300 foot level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture:  Diver opening the hatch of SEALAB III

Billie L. Coffman, TM1, USN, in open sea hatch of SEALAB II preparing to leave for underwater sortie.
4 Sep 1965

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquanaut George Dowling, center, and Bill Tolbert, left, listen as Wally Jenkins describes an incident during an underwater sortie.
24 Sep 1965.
Official Photograph, US Navy.

Picture:  A diver describing an underwater incident to athor team members

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture:  Experimental plant growing in a helium atmosphere

Barley plants, on left, spring up in an experiment to determine if plant life can grow in a helium atmosphere.  Marigold plants on the right are not germinating as planned.
22 Sep 1965.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to SEALAB