Blue Abyss

Dr. Nigel Packham
Associate Director, Safety at NASA

Dr. Nigel Packham

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.

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.


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