A former NASA astronaut who was the first American woman to walk in space has now become the first woman to reach the deepest point on Earth.
68-year-old Kathy Sullivan dove the Challenger Deep on June 7.
Investor and explorer Victor Vescovo served as Sullivan’s pilot. He underwrote the design and construction of the multi-million dollar submersible and served as Sullivan’s co-pilot.
Sullivan is the first woman and the seventh person to descend to the bottom of the Mariana Trench which forms an arc along the eastern edge of the Mariana Islands.
The Challenger Deep lies in the Trench southwest of Guam, within the jurisdiction of the Federated States of Micronesia.
“Challenger Deep — and back!” wrote Sullivan on Facebook after completing her dive on Saturday.
“Just back up from Challenger Deep! My co-pilot was Dr. Kathy Sullivan — now the first woman to the bottom of the ocean and a former astronaut,” Vescovo wrote on Twitter. “Big congratulations to her!”
The dive is part of a series of ocean explorations being conducted by Caladan Oceanic’s “Ring of Fire Expedition.”
Caladan Oceanic’s website describes the expedition as “an ambitious, four-phase program of dives in the Pacific Ocean, including dives to previously unexplored depths and a number of technical and scientific firsts.”
Sullivan flew on 3 Space Shuttle missions and became the first American woman to walk in space on October 11, 1984.