typical day at the office for Gavin Giere includes time at the
world's largest indoor pool, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
at the Sonny
Carter Training Facility.|
Johnson Space Center,
professional scuba diver finds fulfillment in the Neutral Buoyancy
-- Gavin Giere is fulfilling a dream that began with a tour of a
NASA facility just seven years ago. While at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Giere and his family watched divers in action
at the Weightless Environmental Training Facility, the predecessor
of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, or NBL. During the tour, his
family commented on the possibility of Giere working for NASA in
the future, since he was a commercial scuba diver.
watched the divers in action," Giere said, "I thought
about how much I would enjoy working with our future space explorers
while using my prior training in diving and emergency medicine."
and graduated from a number of military and technical schools in
the field of emergency/surgical medicine, as well as a commercial
diver school. He
felt that such an opportunity would never come his way. But just
one year later, Giere received notice of a diving opening at the
new NBL. After two interviews, he began work on March 1, 1999.
is the assistant dive operations training officer at the NBL. He
trains new divers and conducts regular refresher courses for current
divers. The divers provide assistance in the training of astronauts
in a simulated zero-gravity environment. In the pool, astronauts
practice for the future spacewalks needed to build the International
Space Station. The divers' main concern is keeping the astronauts
or suited subjects safe during testing operations. Divers are also
trained to use underwater video cameras to provide footage of the
performance of suited subjects.
and science can not only be fun, but can save a life."|
a time when he played a realtime role in solving a potential problem
in orbit. On May 20, 2000, Giere was on call for STS-101, in case
any problems were encountered in orbit that the NBL team could replicate
in the pool.
went off that Saturday morning and I was told that I was needed
to dive," Giere said. "We had been contacted by Houston
Mission Control that the STS-101 crew had a question about storing
an Orbital Transfer Device if it did not fit in its stowage position."
Once the dive
team was assembled, Giere worked with one other NBL diver, two engineers
and two astronauts. They dived in and succeeded in finding a temporary
a great feeling to be a part of the solution to a possible impending
problem," Giere said.
the mission tasks were completed as originally intended and his
team's solution was not needed. However, the crew and many others
thanked the dive team after the mission for helping to solve a potential
problem that could have left the crew without a place to put a fundamental
piece of hardware.
a message to those who want to work in the space program: "Remember
that education is important. Math and science can not only be fun,
but can save a life. I use them every day as a diver, and I know
the importance it plays in allowing me to go home to my family every
with a reminder to all: "Do not give up on your dreams. [They]
may take longer than you wish, but in the end, they still can come
true. The sky is not the limit, when we consider our mission for
sea and space exploration."