Press Release

Blue Abyss to be at the heart of RAF Henlow regeneration

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The Blue Abyss team is working with Central Bedfordshire Council to create the £120m facility, designed by London’s Gherkin architect Robin Partington, on part of the RAF Henlow site, which is due to close by 2020. Blue Abyss will house the world’s biggest 50m deep pool, a hotel, an astronaut training centre including parabolic flight capability, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers and a human performance centre to enable divers, astronauts and top athletes to perform at the peak of their potential.

Plans include a conference theatre and training rooms, and a 120-bed hotel.

Blue Abyss will fulfill a crucial role in the growth of the UK’s space industry, highlighted by the government in the Queen’s Speech last week. It hopes to start building at the end of the year to start operating in 2019, bringing about 160 new jobs.

The Blue Abyss team plans to reuse some facilities at RAF Henlow, including a centrifuge base already installed at the site for its long-arm human centrifuge for high-G astronaut training.

A launch event, sponsored by Northumbria University, will be held at Cranfield University on Tuesday June 27, attended by representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA), Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, Blue Abyss non-executive director, and representatives from central and local government.

Blue Abyss building by Robin PartingtonBlue Abyss will provide an arena for pioneering research and development into extreme environments, which in turn will enable better human performance in deep sea and space environments by encouraging innovation.
The research and development will help to reduce risk, test operational procedures, improve performance and aid exploration in these environments.

The centre will also offer a wide range of experiential ‘space preparation’ packages for groups and individuals.

These packages will run alongside a ground-breaking commercial astronaut training programme to allow ordinary people to undergo a full astronaut training programme ready for the wave of commercial spaceflight opportunities coming to market.

Blue Abyss chief executive John Vickers said its aim was to transform human life science research and performance training in extreme environments, focusing on advanced commercial diving skills, underwater and space robotics, human spaceflight preparation, professional athlete fitness and healthcare from a better understanding of human physiology under extreme conditions.

Blue Abyss’ education outreach programme and collaboration with universities will help shape a new generation of scientists and engineers, working with primary schools through to post-graduate and post-doctorate researchers.

RAF Henlow provides the ideal site for Blue Abyss. The market is waiting for this facility – space tourism, the UK space programme and the demand for experiential packages.

“Having a centrifuge base already there is an important feature because it’s the most expensive and difficult element of the equipment to install.

“Being part of something bigger, working closely with a proactive council in its enabling and planning capacity and bringing jobs to the area, means we can make the incredibly exciting facilities for the industries we will serve a reality, for UK plc and increase the profile of space travel, space adventure and tourism, deep-sea and offshore energy innovation.

“The government highlighted in the Queen’s Speech how important the space industry is for UK plc. It wants to make the UK the most attractive place in Europe for commercial spaceflight to help increase the UK share of the global space economy to 10% by 2030.”

Professor Simon Evetts, Blue Abyss Space Operations Director, said:  “By being progressive and investing in a sector that has grown throughout the recent economic downturn, we not only ensure our space sector remains vibrant when the UK leaves the EU, but we also provide the UK itself with a high-growth, innovative field of endeavour to help underpin our future.”

Offshore technology for the oil & gas and renewables industries will be tested in the pool, and hyperbaric chambers, providing a vital role in bringing new robotic and human aid technologies to market.

Blue Abyss will be working with world-leading companies and academic institutions to develop the UK’s reputation and status as an industrial nation.

The centre’s Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre will house specialist diver, astronaut and athlete research and development facilities. The centre will include a microgravity simulation suite with a traversable, full-body suspension system plus additional hypobaric chambers to facilitate hypoxia and altitude training, rehabilitation and physiological studies.

“Our education provision will be vital to give students from across the UK and the world the opportunity to work on real-world projects with internationally renowned academics that they would not have had access to otherwise,” Mr Vickers said.

“Blue Abyss will provide a crucial offering to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) agenda in the UK by providing a truly exciting arena for science to be taught and experienced.”

Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said:

“The council welcomes the proposals to bring Blue Abyss to the Henlow site as a central part of a comprehensive mixed use regeneration vision.

The proposal of a science, innovation and technology park at Henlow with Blue Abyss as a key investor will secure many high-tech jobs for the local area and beyond and ensure sustainable regeneration of this former RAF site.

“The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) representing the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and central government, are exploring opportunities to work in partnership with Central Bedfordshire to secure the sustainable redevelopment of the Henlow RAF site.

“Central Bedfordshire is pleased to be working in partnership with Blue Abyss to bring these exciting, innovative proposals to fruition within central Bedfordshire.”

The event at Cranfield will be sponsored by Northumbria University, which has a burgeoning aerospace medicine and rehabilitation laboratory, and aims to conduct world leading research in the fields of aviation medicine, space medicine, and terrestrial healthcare/rehabilitation.

Scientists at the university are also working with the University of Edinburgh to develop a prototype engine based on solid-to-vapour transformation, which could be used for harvesting energy on the surface of Mars and other extreme environments.

Professor Greta Defeyter, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning & Engagement, said: “Northumbria University, Newcastle, is committed to working in partnership and sees this as essential to support its ambition as a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. As such, the University is delighted to be supporting Blue Abyss through their official launch.”

Dr Nick Caplan, Associate Professor of Musculoskeletal Health, added “At Northumbria, we have been developing human spaceflight related activities for nearly 10 years within the Aerospace Medicine and Rehabilitation Laboratory.

We understand the challenges in accessing space environments for research and development, and Blue Abyss will soon be able to provide these. We are excited about what the future holds for human spaceflight research in the UK, and here at Northumbria University, as we build a strong relationship with Blue Abyss.”

Image: Cllr James Jamieson, Leader Central Bedfordshire Council with John Vickers, MD Blue Abyss

Steven M. Diamond, DO, MBA is elected to the ISMC Board of Directors and will also serve as the COO of the Consortium

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29th September 2014


Steven M. Diamond, DO, MBA is elected to the ISMC Board of Directors
and will also serve as the COO of the Consortium

It is a pleasure to announce the nomination and election of Dr. Steven Diamond to the International Space Medicine Consortium Board of Directors and to the appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Diamond’s multifaceted knowledge across multiple fields of medicine including pathology, physiology, pathophysiology, hematopathology, and telemedicine combined with his business development and leadership expertise brings important depth to the ISMC board and corporate operations as it pursues its mission.

Dr. Diamond is a practicing physician, medical examiner and medical entrepreneur. He is currently Director of Laboratories at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, NJ. In addition, he is Medical Director, LabCorp National Clinical Trials Laboratory; Medical Director, Tandem Laboratories, a clinical research organization; Associate Director, Miller-Keystone Memorial Blood Bank and Hunterdon County (NJ) Medical Examiner. Dr. Diamond received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) from Mid-Western University, Chicago, IL and did his residencies pathology at the University of Wisconsin, Philadelphia Naval Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University. He is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and is also board certified in Hematopathology. Dr. Diamond is a forensic pathologist and is boarded by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

Dr. Diamond received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His business experience includes:
• Developer and general partner of a physician-owned MRI center involving limited partners who were neurologists, neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons at Muhlenberg Hospital, Bethlehem, PA;
• CEO, Medinfocare – a medical software company that provided medical triage information. The company was a Ben Franklin Technology Grant awardee;
• CEO, MyTravelMate – a portable synoptic medical chart with travel emergency call capability. Dr. Diamond holds the patent for this technology;
• Lead developer, Telepathology with a national pathology laboratory to export pathology slides to a foreign venue; and
• Co-founder and Board Member, EP Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focusing on cancer treatment.

Dr. Diamond is a past member of the Management Resource Committee of the College of American Pathologists where he developed the Virtual Business College for pathologists. He also taught graduate courses in the Business of Medicine at Lehigh University’s College of Business. He is a member of the College of American Pathologists, American board of Medicolegal Death Investigators and the Medical Society of Pennsylvania.

The ISMC Board of Directors will now include Dr. Steven Diamond, ISMC COO, Dr Thais Russomano, ISMC Chief Medical Officer, Mr Jim McCarthy and I. The ISMC Board of Directors and Executive Team are very excited to have Steve support our founding vision: to advance the state-of-the-art in the innovative field of space medicine and to collaborate with leading space communities and organizations in the exciting area of human space exploration.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Steve to ISMC.


Barry Ressler

Chairman, Board of Directors

International Space Medicine Consortium, ISMC



For more information about ISMC, please visit: Website:


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1st September 2014 




The Board of Directors and Executive Team of the International Space Medicine Consortium, ISMC, are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Fabrizio Gramuglio as Director of the ISMC Human-Computer and Augmented Interaction Group.

Mr Fabrizio Gramuglio is an innovative and creative entrepreneur, pioneering emerging technologies in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), artificial empathy (AE) and Human-Computer Interactions (HCI). Over the years, he has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and colleagues as a pioneer in voice interaction between man and machine.

As a successful entrepreneur, Fabrizio has founded several start-ups. He is the CEO of Forever Identity, an established Italian based company, working on leveraging state-of-the-art technology and leading edge research focusing on developing the preservation of One’s being and unique character: how a person perceives context, expresses emotions, values and aspirations that drive behaviors and actions.

Fabrizio’s company has focused on integrating disruptive innovations in the areas of  conceptual design, research and development, and has demonstrated  the concept of a “3D Holographic Persona”  by incorporating  AI and AE to recreate an intelligent digital “Identity Persona” capable to communicate and interact directly with a human being based on detected feedbacks from a person’s facial gestures, emotional stance, physical postures and situational tasks.  In short, Forever’s unique platform allows a person’s digital “Identity” to “come to life”.

Fabrizio has amassed solid experience in the senior executive management level serving for many years as Senior IT Manager overseeing various Human-Machine interaction, Human -like interactions and dialogue systems projects for international private and public corporations including partnerships and collaborations with scientific, academic and government organizations.

Fabrizio is an excellent communicator and speaker with many years of experience overseeing various international forums, scientific and corporate seminars, national and international congresses. He is a prolific writer with multiple publications and articles published online, social media platforms and in traditional newspapers.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Fabrizio to ISMC


Barry Ressler

Chairman, Board of Directors

International Space Medicine Consortium, ISMC


PRESS RELEASE August 26, 2014: Mr James McCarthy and Dr Thais Russomano elected to Board of Direcotrs

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August 26, 2014

Jim 140 x 140         Thais Image

The Election of James B. McCarthy MBA  JD and

Thais Russomano MD PhD

to the ISMC Board of Directors

I am pleased to announce the nomination and election of James McCarthy and Thais Russomano to the International Space Medicine Consortium Board of Directors.

James (Jim) B. McCarthy MBA JD

Jim brings to the Board an outstanding record of success and business development in the global healthcare and medical markets. Jim is the Chairman and CEO of Gemini Consulting Group, Inc., Oak Brook, Illinois, a healthcare consulting firm that addresses legal, organizational structure and financial strategic advisory services for clients and partners. His experience includes:

 developing and managing hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and diagnostic centers in both the U.S. and overseas;

 developing and implementing hospital and physician joint venture arrangements in the U.S. and overseas; and

 implementing domestic and international medical supply and equipment arrangements.Jim has held positions as Vice President and General Manager of a medical device manufacturing company in Chicago, and spent five years in increasingly responsible planning positions with the Medical Products Division of 3M Company.

Of special interest to ISMC is Jim’s co-founding of Magellan Global Health, Inc., Panama City, Panama, where he also serves on the Board of Directors of its U.S. subsidiary, CareSpan USA, Inc.  CareSpan, a multinational healthcare delivery company, provides cloud-based direct medical care which is facilitated by the global reach of interactive telemedicine whereby doctors and nurses provide primary care, wellness and disease prevention to remote workers and other populations with inadequate medical infrastructure.

Jim received his BA from the University of Notre Dame, his JD from the Loyola University School of Law, and his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management.  He is a member of various state and national organizations, including the American Health Lawyers Association. He also serves on the National Advisory Council of the Keller Graduate School of Management, Chicago, Illinois and is a member of the British-American Business Council, Chicago, Illinois and the National Strategy Forum, Chicago, Illinois.

Jim also serves on the Board of Directors of E-P Therapeutics, Inc., Ridgefield, Connecticut and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of San Diego, San Diego, California where he is Chairman of the Student Affairs Committee and serves on the Executive Committee, Audit Committee and Committee on Trustees.

Jim and I have served as Directors together on public and private corporations operating in the fields of Stem Cell Therapeutics, Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars Program), environmental services and the semiconductor industry. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Wintrust Financial Corporation (WTFC) Rosemont, Illinois, Hinsdale Bank and Trust Company, Hinsdale, Illinois, Protein Polymer Technologies, Inc. (PPTI) San Diego, California, JMAR Technologies, Inc. (JMAR) San Diego, California, StemCyte, Inc., Covina, California and Sirigen Group Ltd., London, England.


Thais is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the International Space Medicine Consortium (ISMC) in a role providing leadership, direction and planning for a wide variety of projects and researches related to mankind in the space environment.

Thais cultivates, facilitates and coordinates professional relationships and collaborations with partner researchers and institutions in line with ISMC mission to develop new technologies and processes leading to the support and sustainability of human life in extreme terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments.

She has more than twenty years of experience in the field of Space Life Sciences with a strong academic and research background. She single-handedly founded the Microgravity Center in Brazil, a unique and internationally recognized reference center in Latin America in the study of Human Space Physiology and Space Biomedical Engineering, now boasting nine laboratories focused in the fields of Aerospace Medicine, Human Physiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Telemedicine & eHealth.

A medical doctor specializing in internal and emergency medicine, Thais completed her Master’s Degree in Aerospace Medicine at Wright State University, Ohio, USA in 1991 and subsequently, a PhD in Space Physiology at King’s College London, UK in 1998.

Thais is an active participant in the international scientific community, being an elected Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and the International Academy of Aviation and, among others. She continues to contribute to international working groups in the field of manned space flight, most recently as a part of the International Space Committee’s ISO Space Systems – Man-Life Activity Support Systems and Equipment Integration in Space Flight, and the IAA, Medical Safety Guidelines for Space Crews Involved in Short-Duration Commercial Orbital Flight Operations.

Thais is the holder of seven patents for products and processes related to Space Life Sciences and Aerospace Biomedical Engineering.

Currently, one of Thais’s patented biomedical devices, Earlobe Arterial Blood Collector, is part of the London Museum of Science Exhibition

We at the ISMC are very enthused to have Jim and Thais join our Board of Directors to support our founding vision to advance the state-of-the-art in the innovative field of space medicine and to collaborate with leading space communities and organizations in the exciting area of human space exploration.

Please join in congratulating and welcoming Jim and Thais to the ISMC Board of Directors


Barry Ressler

Chairman, Board of Directors

International Space Medicine Consortium, ISMC


“Connecting Space and Humanity”