The NEEMO 9 mission (NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations 9) is a joint project involving t

Mission 3 — NURC/Navy Saturation Development Mission I

Principal Investigator: Craig Cooper, NURC/UNCW
Training: June 5 — 6
Mission: June 6 — 10

The NOAA Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is seeking to work on a cooperative saturation project with the Navy’s Specialized Research Diving Detachment (SRDD) to conduct two Aquarius underwater laboratory saturation missions utilizing Underwater Breathing Apparatus (UBA), or rebreathers, for aquanaut excursions.

Rebreathers were used in early Navy habitat saturation diving in the 60’s, and from NOAA saturation habitats in the 70’s, but since that time, excursion diving has been done almost exclusively on open circuit scuba. There is a renewed interest by the NOAA Undersea Research Program (NURP) in the use of rebreathers from Aquarius, and the Navy, because of their extensive background in using rebreathers, is the logical choice to demonstrate their feasibility.

It is the desire of NURC to address the following issues:

Maintenance of rebreathers by aquanauts during the mission, both planned pre- and post-dive servicing and checks, and unscheduled repairs; increased bottom times between “fills” over open circuit scuba; the logistics of supplying consumables for rebreathers such as CO2 absorbent, O2, and diluent gases; and the possible use of the NURP developed REPEX tables, or modifications of the original tables developed for repetitive habitat excursions under NURP Technical Reports 88- 1A & B.