MARINETTE, WI (WTAQ) - A second research boat is ready to launch from Marinette Marine this year.
The Research Vessel Sikuliaq will go to Alaska early next year.
"It's always incredibly exciting as the ship goes down the ways and rolls back nicely in the water,” Marinette Marine President Chuck Goddard told FOX 11.
A soggy crowd at Marinette Marine's shipyard cheered on Saturday, as the R/V Sikuliaq hit the chilly waters with a splash.
"We have been working on this for four decades,” said Brian Rogers, chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Researchers with the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they've worked with the National Science Foundation since 1973 to make the Sikuliaq happen.
Federal stimulus dollars funded the nearly $140 million contract with Marinette Marine that brought this ship to fruition.
Marinette Marine also launched a fisheries research boat in June. And with multiple contracts now secured for future Littoral Combat Ships, Marinette Marine expects launches like this one twice a year for several years.
The Sikuliaq will spend the next year traveling from the Great Lakes, around the continent and through the Panama Canal. It will dock in Seward, Alaska, and its first research mission will begin in 2014.