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Secret Mission 

Learn How the USS Requin Prowled the Ocean 

Ever wonder how submarines detect enemy vessels in the murky depths? Or why submarines donít bump into whales, the oceanís craggy bottom and other submarines? Wonder no more. This summer the "crew" of the Carnegie Science Centerís U.S.S. Requin, a World War II-vintage submarine, will explain the shipís tactics and instruments. Some things youíll learn: 
  • Why and how active and passive sonar (Sound Navigation Ranging) are used. How active sonar sends out "pings" which bounce off objects miles away, sending echoes back to the submarine and allowing the crew to pinpoint them. Passive sonar reads the noises of objects surrounding the ship quietly, allowing the submarine to prowl the ocean undetected by its enemies. Passive sonar is so precise it can "hear" other ships (big objects, like the Queen Mary, can be heard 40 miles away), whales and even shrimp! How a SPA 25 Radar Repeater displays the sonar "blips" of surface objects, thus keeping the submarine from running into other ships and the coastline.
  • That a fathom meter, another form of active sonar, bounces pulses off the sea floor to keep the submarine from scraping bottom.
  • That the submarineís radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) system is used when the ship is on the surface, how it works much like the radar gun police officers use to nab speeders and how it "sees" -- even through rain and fog -- helping crew members determine the distance between their ship and land...or the enemy.
  • The different functions of the antennas on top of the submarine. How a special window on the periscope is used to view the stars for celestial navigation on cloudy nights when the ship has to be silent.
  • How the attack periscope is used when the ship has to be as invisible as possible.Ö
While you wonít be able to look through the Requinís periscope, you will be able to view topside activities at Point State Park and the Fort Pitt Bridge on a shipboard television screen, thanks to a camera mounted on the periscope. Visitors will also get an auditory treat from a new sound system expected to be installed this summer. According to Submarine Manager Scott Kleinshnitz, the sounds of torpedoes, sonar pings, collisions and alarms "will make the ship come alive and help immerse visitors in the experience." 

Call (412) 237-3400 for tour times. Because of the length and technical nature of the tour, it is not recommended for children under age 3. Groups of 15 or more should call for a reservation. 

 
 
 
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