The Cousteau Submarine, named for 20th Century Terran Marine Biologist and Explorer, Jacques Cousteau, was created about the same time as the Lowell Class Submersible Base was created. A small but dedicated group of Engineers and Starfleet Sciences personnel pushed forward for greater exploration of the oceans of many of the Federation Colonies. With the insistence of the Pacifican ambassador to the Federation, the Nautilus Project was launched in 2380, which included the development of the Hunley class shuttle, and the Lowell Class Starbase. Using development from earlier submersible vessels designed, the Engineering team created a mid sized compliment to the smaller Hunley Shuttles and much larger Lowell class research base. The purpose of the Cousteau was for long range vehicle that could serve in a multi-role function. Before the Lowell class research base would be built on a planet, the Cousteau Submarine would provide detailed information about the Ocean regions, including a list of potential build sites for the Lowell class base. Since the Cousteau would be the first on the ground, so to speak, it was necessary to equip the vessel for potential combat, including a bit heavier shielding. After the Lowell class base would be built on the planet in questions, the Cousteau submarine would be permanently detached to that base as a long range research vessel capable of surveying the planet’s oceans, which on many M class planets cover a majority of the planet surface, to say nothing of oceanic planets such as Pacifica. In the event of an emergency, the Cousteau would be made available for evacuation of the entire population of a Lowell class base. One of the unique features of the Cousteau class is its “Open Deck” design for Decks 1 and 2. Deck 1 being on a grated catwalk with occasional staircases leading down to Deck 2 where the beginning of the hard hull plating truly starts.
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