Dr. Mindy Howard has been selected by NASA as a “Highly qualified Astronaut Candidate”. Mindy has worked for 22 years as a strategy leader, people manager and trainer in several blue chip corporations. Mindy has expertise in Commercial Space Training, Human Factors Engineering, psychology and human behaviour, and Health, Safety and Environment. Mindy created the first and only space training to psychologically prepare commercial astronauts for their space flights, called Inner Space Training. She is a fully trained flight member for the Association of Spaceflight Professionals. Dr. Howard has also written and presented publications on a variety of subjects at a number of international scientific and space conferences. She has also appeared in the media, both TV and radio as a “space correspondent” both in the United States and in Europe. Mindy is also a TEDx speaker with the title, “Train your fear away, like an astronaut”.
Julia grew up on a tennis court from the age of 4 and it was embedded in her from that age that humans were built to move around. She realised that understanding “physiology” – the functions and processes of the human body – was one of the best chances at a healthy life for herself; if she could understand what is detrimental to us, then she could understand how to prevent those things from happening. During her sports science degree, Julia became fascinated by how our body functions in extreme environments and how that could further her understanding of how our body should function in its normal habitat. Julia has recently completed her PhD at King’s College London. Her research focused around a “SkinSuit” that has been designed to recreate gravity in order to help protect the health of astronauts when they go into space. Julia loves being part of a team of people that will better understand how to safely get humans back to the moon and to Mars.”
Anna is a tenacious entrepreneur who has spent the bulk of her career developing SME’s. She holds a B/Sc (Hons) in Ecological Sciences and licenses in sailing, powerboating, jet skiing and scuba diving. Anna previously co-owned a maritime training centre in Spain, which primarily catered for international HNWI’s. She returned to the UK after nearly a decade overseas and now primarily focuses on Blue Economy-related projects, specialising in ocean sciences. Career highlights include winning professional awards and meeting personal heroes at international conferences. She is looking forward to developing customer-centric practices for Blue Abyss, alongside environmental guidelines and STEM-related initiatives' she sometimes writes ocean-related articles for the Blue Abyss Blog. When not juggling work or family life with two small children, Anna enjoys sports, long country walks, tending her garden and spending time in her hammock.
Vladimir Pletser (PhD, MSc, MEng) was from 2016 to 2018 Visiting Professor and Scientific Adviser to the Technology and Engineering Centre for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, supporting Chinese Space Station and aircraft parabolic flight microgravity experiments. From 1985 until 2016, he was senior Physicist-Engineer at the European Space Research and Technology Centre of the European Space Agency, managing ISS microgravity payload development and ESA parabolic flight programme. He logged 7350 parabolas at 0g, Mars and Moon gravities on 12 aeroplanes (Guinness world record) during 90 campaigns on European, US and Russian aircraft, supervising 1000 experiments.
Astronaut candidate for Belgium, he spent two months in training in 1995 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and was Astronaut Training Instructor for parabolic flights and Spacelab missions. He participated in three Mars mission simulation campaigns in the Arctic and the Utah Desert.
One of the first Europeans to experience the NASA VIEW Virtual Reality (VR) system in 1987, and having established the first industrial VR team at the UK’s National Advanced Robotics Centre, Professor Bob Stone brings over 30 years of award-winning experience in human factors and simulation experience in a range of application domains, from defence to healthcare and from subsea environments to space. Elected an Academician of the Russian International Higher Education Academy of Sciences in Moscow, in 2000 Bob was accredited by General Klimuk, Director of Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre as responsible for “introducing VR into the cosmonaut space programme”. Bob adopts a very pragmatic approach to Human Factors research – an approach that has taken him from Royal Navy vessels conducting close-range weapons and missile trials to underwater operations onboard submarines and rescue submersibles; from oil and gas support platforms in the North Sea to remotely operated vehicle trials in the waters around Scotland; and from search-and-rescue helicopters over the mountains and coasts of Wales and Cornwall to operating theatres and medical units throughout the UK, US and South Africa.
The first and only Romanian cosmonaut, Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu began his career as an engineer prior to enrolling in the Romanian Air Force. He was selected for spaceflight training in 1978 as part of the Intercosmos programme. Three years later, he joined an eight-day space mission on board Soyuz 40 to the Salyut 6 Space Laboratory. Since then, Prunariu has held many high-ranking positions in the civil service including President of the Romanian Space Agency, Director of the Romanian Office for Science and Technology to the European Commission (ROST), Chairman of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), President of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), and Vice-Chairman of the International Relations Committee of ESA. Dorin is currently working for the Romanian Association for Space Technology and Industry (ROMSPACE), a private research association contracted to the Romanian Space Agency.
Hugh Kier will be responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of all safety, security and facilities management for Blue Abyss. Hugh began his career in the British Army where he served in the Parachute Regiment and was deployed to frontline roles in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland. On leaving the forces, Hugh has worked in corporate health, safety and security management and is a Technical Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Most recently, Hugh was responsible for the corporate health and safety and day-to-day facilities management of 14 sites across in the UK and Ireland. He also directed security for the world’s fifth largest construction project, a $1billion oil and gas project in the Middle East.
Steve has over 35 years’ international Human Resources management experience, in a diverse range of organisations, including Ford Motor Company, Grand Metropolitan, Duracell, EMI Music, Esselte, and Care UK. He has delivered numerous organisational restructures and performance improvement programmes in PLC, Limited Company, PE funded and Not-for-Profit contexts. He has played a leadership role in several new business/start-up scenarios, including multi-national undertakings and joint ventures. Steve has developed and delivered leadership programmes at middle, senior and executive management levels. He has been instrumental in successful turn-arounds, restoring loss making businesses to profitability, and participated in executive teams that have delivered rapid, material top and bottom-line growth. Steve holds a BA in Business Studies and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
An internationally renowned underwater photographer and journalist, Steve’s career spans three decades during which his award winning imagery has been published in over 30 countries. As a true all-rounder, Steve’s list of assignments have included colossal battleship wrecks in the deep north Atlantic, sub-zero encounters with Apex polar predators, through to equatorial seascapes awash with strong currents. He is a Blancpain Edition Fifty Fathoms photographer, a field editor at Ocean Geographic journal and a member of the Oceans Artists Society. His thoroughly researched writing covers both maritime history and marine ecology.
Steve’s imagery can be seen at www.millionfish.com.
Veteran astronaut and explorer Dr. Scott Parazynski is a physician and published expert in the field of space physiology, with particular expertise in human adaptation to stressful environments. His distinguished flying career spans 17 years at NASA, during which time he completed more than 47 hours on spacewalks, over eight weeks in Space, and travelled 23 million miles in orbit. Scott is also an accomplished inventor, pilot, scuba diver and Himalayan mountaineer.
Image credit: NASA
After completing a degree in Zoology, Andy spent 10 years in the British Forces as a Paratrooper, Diver and Bomb Disposal Officer, including serving with the Airborne Brigade, Army’s Underwater Bomb Disposal Team and the Maritime Counter Terrorist Group. He was involved in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and The Falklands. Now a full-time underwater explorer, extreme diver, climber and skydiver, Andy works as a regular BBC TV presenter for programmes including The One Show, Coast, Operation Iceberg, The People Remember, The Adventure Show and Cloud Lab. He’s a highly qualified deep, technical and cave diver, a qualified mountain guide and climbing instructor.
Emma Farrell is one of the world’s leading freediving instructors, author of the book ‘One Breath, a Reflection on Freediving’ and owner of Go Freediving Limited. She chaired the British Freediving Association for two years, and has competed internationally. She is an Instructor Trainer with RAID, SSI and AIDA, a founding member of the AIDA Education Commission and has written courses that are taught internationally. Emma is also a qualified yoga teacher and has worked with Olympic and Paralympic athletes to improve their performance and people confronting physical or psychological challenges to their breathing, using a unique mix of freediving and yoga techniques.
Anu Ojha is Director of the UK’s National Space Academy programme and a Director of the National Space Centre – the UK’s largest visitor centre for Space science and astronomy. He teaches physics on the National Space Academy’s Space Engineering (A level) and Higher Apprenticeship (undergraduate) courses run in partnership with Loughborough College and the University of Leicester, and he is leading the development of new international teaching methodologies for the European Space Agency. In 2014, Anu was awarded an OBE for services to science education.
Rosanna Turner has provided high-performing strategic marketing for B2B and B2C markets in sectors ranging from oil and energy, financial services to health and wellness, working across communication, digital and print channels. During her early career, Rosanna established and ran her own successful design agency before moving into consultancy roles for creative agencies and large corporates. Most recently as Director of Integrated Marketing Communications for $60bn US health insurer, Aetna, Rosanna led the marketing effort behind a $150m acquisition; launched new services and products in Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific; supported business development to secure a substantial partnership deal in South Korea; and launched virtual healthcare in the UAE.
With an MSc in Project Management and a Full Member of the Association of Project Managers, Sandra has delivered a range of large-scale projects in areas such as infrastructure, banking and business transformation. Her versatility in delivering under challenging situations and in complex environments, stems from her experience in a wide range of sectors. Most notably, the successful completion of a large-scale infrastructure-security project for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sandra's strength is in establishing planning and governance structures to get projects off to a good start as well as designing reporting and monitoring processes to ensure everything stays on track and risk is well understood and managed.
Between 2006 and 2014 Professor Simon Evetts ran the multi-disciplinary Medical Projects & Technology Unit at the European Astronaut Centre, Cologne. His responsibilities spanned medical projects, astronaut fitness and the support of in-mission astronaut health. He has been instrumental in developing the field of space biomedicine in the UK for the last 20 years and having recently moved on from Wyle, NASA’s primary astronautics services provider, is now the Managing Director of SeaSpace Research Ltd, the R&D arm of Blue Abyss, and the Director of Space Operations for Blue Abyss. Simon is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, a Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, co-founder of the UK Space Life & Biomedical Sciences Association and the UK Space Environments Association, and founder of the Human Spaceflight Capitalisation Office at Harwell, UK.
After spending eight years in the British Army, John left to join a City-based Management Consultancy. There he worked on leadership and management development programmes for some of the world's Fortune 100 companies including: American Express; Oracle; and British American Tobacco. A subsequent move to IBM, saw him heading up the department he only joined some 18 months earlier. John was subsequently head hunted to GE Capital where he looked after a FTSE 100 client followed by rapid promotion through regional sales management to General Manager-level heading up the eBusiness initiative within the company. John has experience of two previous start-ups including a consultancy business, which influenced IBM to subsequently transform their own approach to eBusiness selling, and heading up a company which had developed an incredibly thin insulation material. John is a qualified Six Sigma Black Belt practitioner and believes passionately about connecting our marine evolutionary heritage and future space exploration.