Type: Deep Submergence Vessel
Length: 78 feet
Beam: 15 feet; 18+ feet at propeller pods
Design Depth: 20,000 feet
Displacement: 85 tons on the surface (empty); 336 tons submerged
Operating Crew: Two crew members and one scientist
Submerged Endurance: 12 hours at 2 knots
Buoyancy Control: Uses fuel-buoyancy control; aviation gasoline for positive buoyancy and iron shot for negative buoyancy
Naval Undersea Museum
1 Garnett Way
Keyport, WA 98345
Fax: (360) 396-7944
The first Trieste (see The National Museum of the United States Navy, Washington, D.C.) was built by Swiss professor, scientist, inventor and explorer Auguste Piccard. Trieste and Trieste II (DSV 1) are bathyscaphes — a Greek term meaning deep ships. They are able to sink into the depths of the ocean, and then rise to the surface utilizing the same scientific principles a blimp uses to rise and then return to its starting point.
Trieste II (DSV 1) served as the U.S. Navy’s deepest-diving submersible for almost 20 years. In the summer of 1969, Trieste II made nine dives to survey and photograph the remains of the sunken submarine USS Scorpion (SSN 589). Two years later, in partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Trieste II embarked on a secret operation to recover the film capsule from a U.S. photo-reconnaissance satellite that had crashed into the Pacific Ocean during reentry. The recovery from 16,400 feet earned Trieste II a Meritorious Unit Citation for performing the deepest recovery to that date. Details of the mission were declassified by the CIA in 2011.
The Navy increased Trieste II’s operating depth over time through a series of overhauls, culminating in a depth capability of 20,000 feet in 1977. Trieste II (DSV 1) remained in active service in the Pacific Fleet through the early 1980s. It was given permanent leave from the Navy in 1984, earmarked for the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum in 1985, and moved to the museum in August 1988.