Former NASA astronaut, the first American woman to walk in outer space, achieves new achievements when down to a depth of 11,000m.
Kathy Sullivan and Victor Vescovo photograph after completing a dive into the Challenger abyss. (Photo: New York Times).
Dr. Kathy Sullivan became the first woman to explore the Challenger abyss at the southern end of the Mariana Trench, Pacific, on June 6. She was also the first person to ever perform both space missions and the deepest expedition in the world.
She went to the abyss of Challenger thanks to the Limiting Factor. The small ship detached from the DSSV Pressure Drop expedition ship, departing from Guam on June 5. Adventurer and investor Victor Vescovo, 54, is the driver of the Limiting Factor.
"Go down into the Challenger abyss and back! Our measuring device records a depth of 10,915m," Sullivan wrote on Facebook after completing a historic dive. Vescovo also sent warm greetings to her on Twitter.
Sullivan and Vescovo spend about an hour and a half to explore the Challenger abyss. After taking pictures, both took about 4 hours to go up. When they returned to the DSSV Pressure Drop, they phoned the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), the object flying at an altitude of over 400km.
"As an oceanographer and an astronaut, this is an extraordinary, unique day for me. I was able to observe the scene in the abyss of Challenger and talk to colleagues on the ISS station," Sullivan said. .
Kathy Sullivan stepped into space from the space shuttle Challenger in 1984. (Image: New York Times).
Sullivan is the 8th person to ever visit the Challenger abyss. "This is the least accessible place on Earth. There are more people on the moon than there are people on the ocean floor," said Rob McCallum, co-founder of EYOS Expeditions.
EYOS Expeditions partnered with Caladan Oceanic and Triton Submarines to organize a dive with the Limiting Factor. The dive is part of the "Ring of Fire Expedition" ocean exploration program .
Sullivan started working at NASA in 1978 and is among the first group of American astronauts to join. On October 11, 1984, she became the first American woman to walk in outer space . "It was really great," she said after walking out of the space shuttle Challenger at an altitude of 225km.