Return to Human Space Flight home page

NEEMO: | Home | Facilities | Teams | History | Journals | EVAs

Behind the ScenesBehind the ScenesTrainingNEEMOBehind the ScenesTrainingNEEMOTrainingNeutral Buoyancy Lab


IMAGE: Jonathan Dory, left and Danny Olivas

Jonathan Dory, left, and Danny Olivas in Aquarius.

*NEEMO 3 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: Jonathan Dory

NEEMO Journals

NEEMO 3, Jonathan Dory
Day 3, Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Today has been an outstanding day. As usual, we all awoke at 0600 to a nice hot bag of Kona coffee, prepared fresh from concentrate and served from an aluminum beverage bag, NASA style.

The first item on the agenda was to perform the construction task, generically called waterlab. This task required assembling a roughly 3 x 3 x 5 meter frame that was prefabricated before the mission. The idea was for the crew, working in two teams, to assemble the roughly 130 parts and bolt them all together as illustrated in the provided schematic. Working with complex assemblies while using tools, managing time, air, and buoyancy, all came together to provide an excellent analogy for performing EVA assembly operations on the International Space Station. Knowing that successfully completing waterlab would be difficult, we all worked together to formulate a plan for assembling waterlab before we came down to Aquarius. We took the large assembly, and thought of it in terms of separate smaller assemblies, then created a new set of schematics to illustrate each small assembly and how they all fit together - a classic case of divide and conquer. In the end, we were able put together the whole assembly in half the time we initially planned. At first, it was disappointing to have the task that we had thought through and carefully planned for so long behind us, but in the end, the lesson was obvious: be prepared. All of our planning paid off and everything went just as it should have.

One dive behind us, Greg and I returned to the habitat for a scheduled Educational Outreach teleconference organized by NASA Quest. Smitty, Byron, Greg and I all got the opportunity to share our experience with a multitude of people out there on the internet. Between switching cameras, moving microphones, and lenses fogging up on the wet porch, the event was a little chaotic. Overall though, I think it was a huge success. We ended up with some great serendipitous shots of Jeff and Danny entering through the moon pool and a nice segue from how we get air down here, to what we do if we run out (the guys outside were buddy breathing at the window). Jeff and Danny even made it inside in time to get on the teleconference for some questions at the end.

The final dive was initially scheduled as a test of the underwater OTS comm units patched back to Houston. We were having some problems with the comm box, despite Byron's valiant efforts to repair it and some excellent troubleshooting from topside, so Houston never did get patched in. We decided to replan the dive, making the primary objective to conduct some coral science on the NE excursion line, with a secondary objective to perform periodic tests of the comm back to Aquarius. Greg and Danny departed first, and Jeff and I were to follow about an hour later. When Jeff and I got out to the site, we found the current was ripping, making it tough to just get to the excursion line. Making the excursion out to the NE way station took all our efforts pulling with our arms just to fight against the pull of water. Needless to day, we called off the coral science effort as it would have been folly to get 25 meters or more from the excursion line in such current.

The reef gets fairly shallow out to the NE, so in order to keep from blowing our ceiling depth on excursion, Jeff and I dropped below the line, still pulling with our arms, inverted. What an adventure to see the corals and fishes overhead as we went flying through the reef upside down. After checking in at the way station and topping off our scuba tanks with air, Jeff and decided to head back to Aquarius. This time, the trip was much smoother. We simply pulled up our legs and arms and let the current sweep us back to home, with an occasional kick to stay near the excursion line. It felt to me very much like a horizontal skydive, with water instead of gravity doing all the work. We arrived at Aquarius with plenty of time left to enjoy the local scenery. What a site! I recall the surreal feeling of looking at our new home, blue sky above filled with a school of 1 1/2 meter barracuda for clouds, and a big yellow life support buoy for a sun. What a truly unique place this is to live and work.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 06/14/2004
Web Accessibility and Policy Notices