Students Staff

10 June 2016

Former NASA astronaut Dr Scott Parazynski joins Blue Abyss


Dr Scott Parazynski (Image courtesy of NASA)

Former NASA astronaut Dr Scott Parazynski has joined Blue Abyss to provide advice and guidance on neutral buoyancy training for astronauts and human physiology in extreme environments. Dr Parazynski joins Blue Abyss as it prepares to build Europe’s largest commercial aquatic centre.

Alongside his experience as a NASA astronaut Dr Scott Parazynski is a physician, mountaineer, pilot, diver, inventor and inspirational TED Talk speaker,

Blue Abyss will be the most comprehensive, extreme environment research, training and testing facility of its kind, designed to support the sea and Space communities. The facility will be located on the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway site in Colchester.

Dr Parazynski says, “My life’s journey has provided me with insightful knowledge of the rigours, risks and rewards of human adaptation in high-stress environments. I’m delighted to be a part of such a pioneering and innovative business. Blue Abyss will take the future of spaceflight research and training to new horizons, as well as present numerous benefits for education, sports and health care.”

A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, Dr Parazynski trained at Harvard University and in Denver, Colorado, in emergency medicine and trauma. He boasts an accomplished career, which includes serving as a NASA astronaut for 17 years, and he has received a number of prestigious awards including two NASA Distinguished Service Medals and five NASA Spaceflight Medals.

During his time as an astronaut, Dr Parazynski flew five Space Shuttle Missions and conducted seven spacewalks (EVAs). His last spacewalk in 2007 is regarded by many as one of the most challenging and dangerous ever performed. During this highly complex maneuver, he was positioned by a 90-foot robotic boom farther than any orbiting astronaut had ever ventured from the safety of their airlock. Altogether, Dr Parazynski has completed more than 47 hours on spacewalks and over eight weeks in Space, and travelled 23 million miles in orbit.

Additionally, Dr Parazynski is a commercial pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, and an accomplished scuba diver and mountaineer. In 2009, on his second Mount Everest attempt, he became the first astronaut to stand on top of the world.

John Vickers, CEO, Blue Abyss Ltd. said: “Having a distinguished and qualified specialist such as Scott join the Blue Abyss team really strengthens our collective knowledge base. Scott is a published expert in the field of Space physiology with particular expertise in human adaptation to stressful environments. His experience and understanding of the extreme will help Blue Abyss to become a global asset – enabling Britain to lead in the field of extreme environment training and research, particularly as commercial human spaceflight is about to take off.”

Blue Abyss Ltd. is in the final stages of securing investment to build the facility, which is scheduled to be fully operational in mid-2018.

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