Cruise informatiom

R/V Thompson | ROV Jason and AUV Sentry | Seattle-Seattle, August 14-29

Launch of the SS Morningstar

Saturday, August 15, 2015
By Rachel Teasdale

The SS Morning Star just prior to launch from the T.G. Thompson.
At 7:50 this evening, the crew of Thomas G. Thompson launched the SS Morning Star, a 5 foot sailboat built by Tillamook High School physics students in spring 2015. The boat is equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit so anyone can track its journey across the Pacific. The construction and launch of the SS Morning Star is part of the Educational Passages program that supports student-built unmanned sailboats, which are registered with NOAA for tracking.

Watertight port with information about the SS Morning Star and the GPS in
  small rectangular box at bottom left.
The SS Morning Star launch occurred near N 46° 16.4', W -129° 47.8', which is about 20 nautical miles (about 23 miles) north-northeast of Axial Seamount and approximately 560 km (350 mi) east of the Oregon coast. The progress of the SS Morning Star and other Educational Passages boats, are available online at:

Lowering the SS Morning Star over the fan tail.
The SS Morning Star is the 3rd boat of its kind launched in the Pacific and according to the Educational Passages website, there have been more than 40 other boats launched worldwide. The Morning Star is named after the famous sloop that carried butter in and out of Tillamook, OR. Two other boats previously launched in the Pacific were built by Oregon students in Waldport and Coos Bay. Information about the project is enclosed in a watertight port on the boat.

Students who build the boats are engaged in a variety of science education areas, to “expand and provide knowledge and adventure to the next generation of sailors, but also provides thought-provoking exercises to budding mathematicians, meteorologists, marine scientists,” according to the Educational Passages Website. By tracking the sailboats, students and the general public can learn about wind patterns and ocean currents, and make predictions about the trajectory the boats will take.

The science and ship’s crew were happy to launch the SS Morning Star and look forward to following its track in the Pacific.
The SS Morning Star starts her journey, headed south.

Funding for the SS Morning Star project was provided by Oregon Coast STEM Hub.