Dr. Nigel Packham Joins Blue Abyss Advisory Team

Cornwall-based, extreme environment research, development and training company, Blue Abyss, has announced the appointment of Dr Nigel Packham to its advisory board.

Newquay, Cornwall, UK:

Adding to a distinguished group of world-class aerospace and marine consultants, Blue Abyss has secured Dr. Packham’s expertise in an advisory capacity. He will advise the team in areas such as health, safety and quality management, technical systems, training operations, environmental factors and the management of risk.

Dr. Packham has served as the Associate Director for Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre since 2007, ensuring safe and successful human space flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

Prior to this assignment, he was the Space Shuttle/ISS Water System Manager overseeing all aspects of assuring that water of sufficient quality and quantity was available to all International Space farers on the ISS. This also involved the rapid development of hardware to convert Space Shuttle produced water supplies to be compatible with ISS systems. This hardware is still in use today for multiple applications on ISS. In addition, he was the Project Manager for the effort that culminated in the release of the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report.

UK-born Dr. Packham started his career as a life support systems specialist in engineering, developing systems to sustain life for long duration space missions such as those to the moon and Mars. In this role, he spent a total of 106 days in closed chamber testing, including as the Commander of a four-person crew that spent 91 days in a 6-metre diameter chamber to validate system designs.

Now a renowned public speaker on topics such as NASA’s approach to the management of risk, and how other high-risk ventures share the same challenges, he obtained his BS.C. In chemistry and biology from what is now the Guildhall University, followed by post-graduate studies in astrophysics at Imperial College, London. He relocated to the US in 1984 to obtain his Doctorate in physical electrochemistry prior to joining the NASA team in 1991.

Dr. Packham said: “It is a great pleasure to be in a position to advise such a forward-looking organisation. Blue Abyss will inevitably contribute to the pursuit of space exploration not just in the UK, but across the globe. I am delighted to be able to advise, and I am especially pleased to see an area of the UK that is very near and dear to me, attracting some of the finest and most innovative aerospace ventures during this period of expanding interest in space exploration.”

John Vickers, Chief Executive Officer, said: “‘We are exceptionally grateful to Nigel for his input. I am looking forward to utilising the vast experience, insight and guidance he brings as a current Associate Director of Safety at NASA, to Blue Abyss.” 

Blue Abyss Facts:

  • The Blue Abyss facility is planned to occupy a 10-acre site on the Aerohub Business Park at Cornwall Airport Newquay. Spaceport Cornwall is located on the same site.
  • It will house the world’s largest and deepest R&D pool, measuring 40m by 50m on the surface, with a 16m wide shaft plunging to a depth of 50m.
  • A sliding roof and 30-tonne crane will allow large objects to be lowered into the pool, from simulated sections of the International Space Station to underwater film sets and even cave systems to test remote operated vehicles or train deep sea divers.
  • The pool’s temperature, lighting and salinity will be controllable to simulate different conditions, including different currents at varied depths.
  • The pool will hold 42,000 cubic metres of water, or 42 million litres. That’s enough to fill 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools or make around 280 million cups of tea.
  • The project would bring160 jobs and inward investment of more than £150m into Cornwall, with £50m of build costs going into the Cornish economy during the 18–24-month construction phase. Once open, Blue Abyss will generate an estimated £8 million for the local economy every year.

Important note:

As per US Government regulations, (5 C.F.R. § 2635.101(b)(7), 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702, and 5 C.F.R. § 2635.801), this NASA employee’s affiliation to Blue Abyss is not an endorsement by NASA or the United States Government of Blue Abyss and its activities.

About Blue Abyss: Blue Abyss will enable the research and development of marine, subsea, space, aerospace, offshore and energy technologies, and techniques. It will facilitate training, testing and evaluation to prepare humanity and technology for operation in extreme environments through life science research, diver and astronaut training and technological readiness advancement. Creating valuable educational resources and outreach, raising aspiration and awareness among young people around the world and promoting the critical importance of sustainable green, blue and space economies.

Blue Abyss is the brainchild of ex-forces diving instructor and management consultant, John Vickers and has the support of British astronaut Major Tim Peake, who sits on the Blue Abyss Advisory Board.

Contact: press@blueabyss.uk

Link: https://blueabyss.uk/blog/post/dr.-nigel-packham-joins-blue-abyss-advisory-team