Former Astronaut Kathy Sullivan Becomes First Woman To Visit The Deepest Part Of The Ocean

REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

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The first American woman to walk in space, Dr. Kathy Sullivan, also became the first woman to reach the deepest part of the ocean Sunday. 

Sullivan reached the deepest point in the ocean, called the Challenger Deep, which is about 200 miles from Guam in the Pacific Ocean, according to a Business Insider report. The Challenger Deep is approximately 7 miles below the surface. 

She completed the mission with millionaire investor Victor Vescovo.

“Just back up from Challenger Deep!” Vescovo tweeted after completing the mission Sunday. “My co-pilot was Dr. Kathy Sullivan – now the first woman to the bottom of the ocean and a former astronaut as well as NOAA Administrator! Big congratulations to her!”

The pair spent about an hour and a half at the Challenger Deep, the New York Times reported

The ascent back to the surface, completed on the custom-designed submersible the Limiting Factor, took a total of 4 hours, according to the Times. (RELATED: American Diver Smashes Record For Deepest Ocean Sub Dive)

The 68-year-old former astronaut is the first person to both walk in space and visit the deepest part of the ocean, according to the Business Insider report. The company that organized the mission, EYOS Expeditions, said that she’s only the 8th person in the world to successfully reach the Challenger Deep. 

Sullivan said in a statement that “as a hybrid oceanographer and astronaut, this was a once in a lifetime day — seeing the moonscape of the Challenger Deep and then comparing notes with my colleagues on the ISS about our remarkable, reusable, inner-space outer-spacecraft.”