Skip to content

Neil Armstrong

Welcome to New York City

R/V Neil Armstrong

Fleet Week 2017, May 24-26

Tour R/V Neil Armstrong

May 25, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.   •   May 26, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum • Pier 86 (46th St. & 12th Ave.)

See inside one of the nation's most advanced oceanographic research vessels.

Meet scientists and crew who sail on the ship.

View underwater vehicles and other equipment used to explore the ocean.

Learn about the science and technology that is revealing new information about our planet.

Tours are free, but space is limited and available only on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors to the ship must have a valid photo ID. Tours will last 20 minutes and require the ability to climb several flights of stairs. Please wear sensible shoes. No backpacks or strollers will be permitted on board.


Celebrate the arrival of R/V Neil Armstrong in New York City by taking a photo of yourself or your friends holding a #WelcomeArmstrong sign. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and make sure to tag your post #WelcomeArmstrong and share it to spread the news that Neil Armstrong is coming to the Big Apple!

Meet the ship

Neil Armstrong was built by the U.S. Navy to advance knowledge of the ocean and our planet. The ship can put to sea for up to 40 days with 44 scientists and crew and will be equipped to conduct advanced oceanographic research almost anywhere in the world. Neil Armstrong will be based in Woods Hole and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to provide scientists with the means to study the global ocean and its importance to life on Earth.


Length: 238 feet

Beam: 50 feet

Draft: 15 feet

Speed: 11.5 knots cruising

Endurance: 40 days

Range: 11,500 nautical miles

Complement: 24 scientists, 20 crew

Lab space: 1,732 square feet

Deck space: 4,510 square feet

R.V Neil Armstrong

May 2010

The U.S. Navy selected the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to operate AGOR-27, first of its new Ocean Class of Auxiliary General-purpose Oceanographic Research vessels to replace the aging Knorr and Melville. (Image by Guido Perla & Associates)

R.V Neil Armstrong

August 2012

In a ceremony at Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Wash., WHOI president and director Susan Avery welded her initials into the traditional first piece of steel in AGOR-27's hull, signaling the start of construction. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings/Released)

R.V Neil Armstrong

September 2012

The U.S. Navy announced that AGOR-27 would be named R/V Neil Armstrong after the former Naval aviator and first man to set foot on the moon, and that its sister ship, AGOR-28, would be named Sally Ride. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

R.V Neil Armstrong

February 2014

Workers at Dakota Creek prepared Neil Armstrong to be lowered into the water for the first time. (Photo by Gary McGrath, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

March 2014

Carol Armstrong, with other members of the Armstrong family in attendance, christened the new ship named after her late husband. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Releases)

R.V Neil Armstrong

September 2015

After successfully completing its acceptance trials in the waters near Anacortes, Wash., Neil Armstrong was officially handed over to the U.S. Navy, which then transferred operation of the ship to WHOI. (Photo courtesy of Paul Bueren, Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

R.V Neil Armstrong

October 2015

Captain Kent Sheasley guided Neil Armstrong away from the dock in Anacortes, Wash., to begin the first leg of the ship's inaugural voyage to San Francisco, the Panama Canal, and the U.S. East Coast. (Photo by Ken Kostel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R.V Neil Armstrong

November 2015

Mike Singleton, third mate on Neil Armstrong reviewed charts of the Panama Canal prior to passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic as part of the ship's inaugural voyage. (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R.V Neil Armstrong

December 2015

Neil Armstrong arrived in Charleston, S.C., to begin installation of its general-purpose science equipment, including the main satellite antenna. (Photo by Dave Wellwood, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R.V Neil Armstrong

February 2016

Neil Armstrong began the first of several science verification cruises designed to test the ship's scientific instruments and gear-handling capabilities in meeting actual research objectives. (Photo by Pelle Robbins, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R.V Neil Armstrong

March 2016

During its second science verification cruise, the ship met up with its predecessor, R/V Knorr (now the Rio Tecolutla) traveling from Woods Hole to its new home in Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Kent Sheasley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R.V Neil Armstrong

April 2016

Neil Armstrong arrives in its homeport of Woods Hole for the first time to a jubilant crowd on the WHOI dock. (Image by Daniel Cojanu, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R/V Neil Armstrong in the North Atlantic

A new ship in town

Illuminating the ocean with sound

Sailors for science

Neil Armstrong may be a new ship, but its crew includes many old hands. Most transferred from Knorr, a ship and crew known for their ability to get the job done, even in difficult conditions. Learn more about the different crew positions and their roles in helping ensure the success of seagoing ocean science.

  • Master/Captain

    The master, or captain, has overall command of the ship and is responsible for the safety of all the scientists, crew, and passengers onboard. He or she oversees the vessel's seaworthiness, efficient operation, and navigation in compliance with all applicable laws and with WHOI policies. The captain also helps ensure the safe completion of an expedition’s scientific goals, taking into account weather, safety, and other factors.

    The ship’s officers and crew work under the direction of the captain and are divided into three departments: the deck department, whose members report to the chief mate; the engineering department, whose members report to the chief engineer; and the steward’s department, whose members report to the chief steward.

  • Deck department officers

    The chief mate reports to the captain and is in charge of all operations on deck, including managing the deck crew and overseeing any cargo and scientific equipment. The chief mate also serves as the ship's medical officer and, if necessary, can contact a medical advisory service on shore where doctors are on-call around the clock.

    The second mate is the ship’s navigation officer, maintaining all navigation equipment, publications, and charts and preparing information for watch-standers on the bridge.

    The third mate is the ship's safety officer and is responsible for all lifesaving and firefighting equipment on board, including lifeboats.

    In addition, all three mates serve as deck watch officers, each overseeing two, 4-hour watch periods on the bridge every day during which she or he is in operational control of the ship.

  • Deck department crew

    The bosun is the senior crewman of the deck department under the deck watch officer. He or she oversees ship maintenance, operation of scientific and deck equipment, and any over-the-side work.

    Both the able-bodied seamen (AB) and the ordinary seamen (OS) report to the bosun, maintaining deck spaces and equipment and operating machinery during scientific operations and cargo handling. The ABs also stand bridge watch, either as a lookout or as quartermaster, the person responsible for maintaining the ship’s course when it is underway.

  • Engineering officers

    The chief engineer reports to the ship's captain and is the officer in charge of the engineering department. She or he manages all engineering personnel and oversees the operation, maintenance, and safety of the ship’s propulsion and other systems.

    The first, second, and third assistant engineers report to the chief engineer and assist with the operation and maintenance of the ship’s systems. All three serve as engineering watch officers, which involves standing watch in the engine room and overseeing the proper functioning of the ship’s propulsion system.

  • Engineering crew

    The electrician reports to the chief engineer or first assistant engineer and assists with the operation, maintenance, and repair of electrical equipment and systems on the ship. He or she also assists members of the science party in using shipboard power for their research instruments.

    The oilers report to the engineering watch officer (first, second, or third assistant engineer) and assist with the operation, maintenance and repair of equipment. A traditional part of the oiler’s job involves lubricating—or oiling—the moving parts of the propulsion engines and auxiliary equipment.

  • Steward's Department

    The steward's department consists of a chief steward, who reports to the master, and a cook and mess attendant, who report to the chief steward. The chief steward is in charge of the galley, where food is prepared, and the mess, where it is served, as well as laundry, linens, supplies, and other areas that affect the comfort and habitability of the ship for its crew and science party. The cook prepares three meals a day and provides food for night watch-standers. The mess attendant assists the cook, serves meals, and cleans the galley and mess deck.

  • Shipboard Technicians

    Technicians with WHOI's Shipboard Scientific Services Group (SSSG) provide scientific technical support to help the science party meet their research objectives. They maintain, repair, and assist in the operation of the general-use research equipment on the ship, including computer networks, ship sensors, satellite communications, water sampling systems, and over-the-side instrumentation and handling systems. They also provide assistance in cruise preparations, frequently serving as the interface between the ship's agent, crew, local contractors, and the science party.

The man behind the name

Neil Armstrong was a naval aviator, test pilot, and astronaut who pushed the boundaries of exploration. As the first human to walk on the moon, his view of our home gave us a greater appreciation of our place in the cosmos and a unique look at the oceans that cover 70% of Earth’s surface.

Armstrong’s legacy of exploration will continue with the ship that bears his name and in the scientists and crew who extend our ability to explore and understand Earth’s ocean frontier.

» Full biography

R/V Neil Armstrong is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System for the benefit of the entire ocean science community.

She’s a vessel with a heart of steel and a mission to expand the bounds of knowledge.

Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of Neil Armstrong