A PADI Master Instructor’s Mission with NASA


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As a subcontractor diver for Business Diving Worldwide Providers (CDIS), Michael Cuesta has had his fill of underwater adventures. So, when NASA got here calling, he didn’t miss a beat.

Unbeknown to him, the duty was one thing Cuesta had been coaching for all of his life. Whereas stationed within the Philippines with the U.S. Air Pressure, he earned his dive certification and found his love for educating. Since then, the PADI Grasp Teacher makes a dwelling as a subcontractor diver for CDIS and is an educator for Jr. Scientists within the Sea (JSIS) – a program that introduces the underwater world to inner-city youth.

“Once we have been knowledgeable of the contract being secured by CDIS, I used to be excited and stated, ‘When can we begin!?'” he says. “I by no means thought in my wildest goals that I might be doing a dive operation for a NASA venture. So sure, I used to be thrilled, to say the least.”

The mission: Recuperate items of the 91-foot tall Orion crew capsule after launch on the Kennedy Area Middle.

Submit-launch, the removable vessels plummet again to earth and into the Atlantic Ocean. NASA hires groups to get well these things for each environmental and security considerations in addition to for classification and cataloging. The particles consists of the whole lot from vessel items to an assortment of sensors and categorised models.

On July 2, 2019, the Orion launched at 7 a.m. whereas 5 miles offshore, the crew waited for his or her orders.

“The countdown began, then it was the previous few seconds earlier than 7 a.m., and we noticed the rocket mild up, and the rocket was in liftoff,” Cuesta says. “It was lower than three minutes from liftoff to splashdown.”

At 34,000 ft, the primary booster separated from the crew module, which proceeded to 42,000 ft earlier than the abort system and crew module separated.

“It was breathtaking to see all three elements hurdling again to earth on the velocity of sound,” he says. “When all three modules hit the water, you possibly can see the shock wave after impression. After the impression, we acquired the all-clear to start out water restoration. With the velocity it was touring, a lot of the gadgets have been damaged into items and scattered throughout us. We knew that this may be fairly a problem.”

Some gadgets have been seen from the floor, in depths starting from 10-35 ft. A U.S. Air Drive helicopter, assigned to do air surveillance, was additionally available to ship the workforce the coordinates of remaining particles and to maintain them from the Scorching Zone – a army time period for an unsafe space.

Staffed with dive specialists from around the globe, the restoration workforce efficiently accomplished their mission, retrieving extra gadgets than anticipated. And with that monitor report, restoration divers like Cuesta, are very happy to reply the NASA name for future launches.

“Sharing my diving expertise has led me to some incredible alternatives,” Cuesta says. “Life is just too brief. I've the power to use myself to the wonders of the seas by way of my eyes.”

From the ocean to area, Cuesta’s dive profession continues to take off to locations even he by no means imagined.

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