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 said: “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.


For more information about the Knowledge Gateway please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377 or email:

For further information about Blue Abyss, please contact:
Rosanna Turner, Director Marketing, Blue Abyss
Mobile: 07949 863810  Email:



Dr. Scott Parazynski is a former astronaut, physician, mountaineer, pilot, diver and inventor. A feature speaker of the renowned global TED organization, known for its platform of sharing innovative ideas through powerful talks, Dr. Parazynski shares important lessons about teamwork, risk management and leadership under the most demanding circumstances.
In 1992, Dr. Parazynski was selected to join the NASA Astronaut Corps. During his 17 years as an astronaut, he flew five Space Shuttle Missions and conducted seven spacewalks (EVAs). He also served in numerous senior leadership roles, including having served as Lead Astronaut responsible for overseeing inspection and repairs in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy. His mission highlights include global ozone mapping, leading the first joint US-Russian spacewalk while docked to the Russian space station Mir; serving as Senator John Glenn’s crewmate and personal physician; and conducting EVA assembly of the Canadian-built Space station arm. 
He recently served as Founding Director and Chief Medical Officer of the University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Polar Medical Operations, where he oversaw the medical screening and on-ice care of the National Science Foundation U.S. Antarctic Program, and traveled widely across the earth’s most remote continent. In November 2014, he was designated University Explorer and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. He is currently Founder and Chief Technology Officer of BlueDot, a novel technology company aiming to leverage disruptive innovations from national and university laboratories for our greatest global challenges in health care, energy and sustainability.

Blue Abyss will provide state-of-the-art facilities designed to be the world’s leading underwater research and development centre for astronaut and diver training, aimed primarily at the commercial diving, submersibles, life science and human spaceflight sectors.
The facility will house the world’s largest and deepest indoor pool at approximately 35,000m³ including: a ‘mission control’ style high-definition video room for pool supervision; hyperbaric and hypobaric chambers and a micro-gravity simulation suspension system for replicating the effects of weightlessness; and the ‘Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre’ focusing on human spaceflight research and it’s benefits for terrestrial health care. A lecture theatre, six class rooms, an onsite cafeteria, and a boutique hotel will complete the complex.
Blue Abyss also aims to encourage people of all ages and abilities to discover the joys of exploring our marine environments through recreational diving, as well as providing the UK with an innovative, aquatic-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) education centre.
Blue Abyss will be located in Colchester on the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway Business Park. Subject to final investment and build schedule, the facility is expected to be fully operational in mid-2018.

SeaSpace Research is a limited company established to commercially exploit the facilities available at Blue Abyss and its associated Research and Development Centre, the ‘Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre’. SeaSpace is establishing ‘The Academic Partnership’ with leading academic universities with an interest in ‘sea to space’ related research. Between SeaSpace and its partners, commercial and government funded R&D projects will be undertaken in fields such as diving, spaceflight, sports science and health care (with an emphasis on rehabilitation from physical deconditioning).

SeaSpace’s vision for a decade from now is for an active and productive world class R&D centre serving a varied and vibrant UK aerospace and extreme environment community – producing IP, products and services that benefit its customers, profits its investors and partners, and positively impacts the UK human spaceflight, terrestrial health care and extreme environment sectors.