Craig B. Cooper

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Craig Cooper
Jsc2006e30801 Nyberg suits up for NEEMO EVA.jpg
Right to left: Karen L. Nyberg, Roger Garcia, and Craig B. Cooper, preparing for a NEEMO mission at Key Largo, 2006.
Born (1949-09-08) September 8, 1949 (age 71)
NationalityAmerican
EducationB.S., Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
OccupationCommercial diver, aquanaut

Craig B. Cooper[1] (born September 8, 1949) is a professional aquanaut from the United States who served from 1991 to 2010 as Operations Manager for the Aquarius Reef Base underwater habitat.[2][3][4] Cooper is known to fellow divers by the nickname "Coop".[5]

Education and professional diving career[edit]

Cooper began scuba diving for recreation in 1964. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. During and after college he conducted fisheries research with the Virginia Cooperative Fishery Unit, New Jersey Fish and Game and the U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife.[3]

In 1973 Cooper graduated from the Ocean Corporation, a commercial diving school. He then worked for Taylor Diving & Salvage for eleven years as a commercial diver in many different parts of the world. His work included air, mixed gas, and saturation diving. He also gained experience with welding habitats.[3] Cooper was diving near the Ixtoc oil platform when it exploded in 1979, killing a friend of his.[6] Cooper subsequently worked with oil well firefighter Red Adair during the efforts to contain the Ixtoc I oil spill.[7]

In 1984 Cooper joined the North Carolina Department of Transportation as an underwater bridge inspector. This work soon evolved to include underwater bridge construction of concrete piles and foundations. The University of North Carolina Wilmington contacted Cooper in December 1990 after acquiring the Aquarius underwater laboratory. In January 1991 Cooper began managing the refurbishment of Aquarius in drydock prior to its deployment at its present site in the Florida Keys in 1993.[3]

Aquarius[edit]

As Operations Manager at Aquarius for the National Undersea Research Center (NURC), Cooper supervised the daily activities of the underwater habitat. He also served as Coast Guard-licensed Captain, Diving Medical Technician, and habitat technician during missions aboard Aquarius.[8][9] Cooper commented of the scientists participating in a June 1995 marine biology mission aboard Aquarius, "In many ways this is like a space mission... We need to keep a close eye on them to make sure everything's okay."[10]

During Hurricane Gordon in 1994, Cooper helped rescue a crew of scientists and divers who had to evacuate Aquarius and climb up a rescue line to the surface in 15-foot seas after one of the habitat's generators caught fire.[2][6] As of 2008, no scientists or staff members had been injured at Aquarius due to storms.[2]

In July 2004, Cooper took part as a habitat technician in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 6 (NEEMO 6) mission, one of a series of NASA-NOAA missions which use Aquarius as an analog environment for space exploration. The NEEMO 6 crew lived and worked underwater aboard Aquarius for ten days.[11][12][13] In April 2005, Cooper served as a habitat technician during the NEEMO 8 mission, the crew of which lived underwater for three days.[14][15]

Other missions aboard Aquarius in which Cooper has participated include a June 2006 mission with the U.S. Navy Specialized Research Diving Detachment (SRDD) during which NURC divers investigated the possibility of using rebreathers during excursions from Aquarius.[16] During the investigation of the death of Aquarius aquanaut Dewey Smith in 2009, the panel of outside experts asked Cooper to organize a test in which the hydraulic hammer in use near Smith at the time of his fatal accident was again used underwater in the vicinity of an Inspiration closed circuit rebreather (CCR) similar to the one Smith had been using.[17]

Cooper is a friend of SEALAB aquanaut Bob Barth, whom he regards as a mentor.[18][19] In 2003, Cooper, Barth, U.S. Navy Supervisor of Diving Captain Mark Helmkamp and NOAA Captain Craig McLean organized a partnership allowing Navy divers to take part in Aquarius saturation diving missions.[20] In a blog entry written in 1999, Cooper wrote of his fellow Aquarius topside personnel and habitat technicians, "If the scientists are the astronauts, these guys are the junior Bob Barths."[21]

After leaving the Operations Manager position in 2009, Cooper continued serving with Aquarius in his capacities as diver, medical technician and habitat technician, as well as working on program development and collaborations with other agencies.[3] In March 2010, Cooper retired as Operations Director of Aquarius.[7][22] At Cooper's retirement ceremony, Barth commented, "You're the only one, don't be the last!"[23] Cooper subsequently joined the team of retired University of Connecticut professor Richard A. Cooper, who hopes to build an undersea lab called SeaBase 1 in the Belize Barrier Reef.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Cooper has raised Arabian show horses and Friesian draft horses with his wife, Kathleen, at their farm in Wake Forest, North Carolina.[3][8]

Publications[edit]

  • Shepard, Andrew N.; Dinsmore, David A.; Miller, Steven L.; Cooper, Craig B.; Wicklund, Robert I. (1996). Lang, MA; Baldwin, CC (eds.). "Aquarius Undersea Laboratory: The Next Generation". The Diving for Science…1996, "Methods and Techniques of Underwater Research". Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (Sixteenth Annual Scientific Diving Symposium): 205–212. Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  • Cooper, Craig B. (February 23–24, 2006). Lang, Michael A.; Smith, N. Eugene (eds.). "Underwater Habitats at 300 FSW: A Thing of the Past, Or Still Viable Today?" (PDF). Proceedings of Advanced Scientific Diving Workshop. Smithsonian Institution: 166–170. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  • Miller, Steven L.; Cooper, Craig B. (Winter 2000–2001). "The Aquarius Underwater Laboratory: America's "Inner Space" Station". Marine Technology Society Journal. 34 (4): 69–74. doi:10.4031/mtsj.34.4.9. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved February 29, 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shepard, Andrew N.; Dinsmore, David A.; Miller, Steven L.; Cooper, Craig B.; Wicklund, Robert I. (1996). Lang, MA; Baldwin, CC (eds.). "Aquarius Undersea Laboratory: The Next Generation". The Diving for Science…1996, "Methods and Techniques of Underwater Research". Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (Sixteenth Annual Scientific Diving Symposium): 205–212. Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Prager, Ellen J. (2008). Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, & Living Undersea With Ocean Experts. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 118–120. ISBN 978-0-226-67870-2.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Cooper, Craig (2009). "Craig Cooper Bio". Cambrian Foundation. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  4. ^ Hellwarth, Ben (2012). Sealab: America's Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 372. ISBN 978-0-7432-4745-0. LCCN 2011015725.
  5. ^ Hutchens, Michael (August 14, 1999). "Aquarius - Journal 9". University of North Carolina Wilmington. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Helvarg, David (March 20, 2011). "Health Library Articles". HealthDay. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Hill, R. J. (January 27, 2011). "Diver builds bridge between land and sea". The Wake Weekly. Allen Publishing LLC. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Cooper, Craig (August 1999). "Aquarius - Craig Cooper". University of North Carolina Wilmington. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Sanctuaries Web Team (September 26, 2007). "If Reefs Could Talk - Aquarius 2007". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  10. ^ Lipkin, Richard (September 16, 1995). "Sight in the sea: exploring light and color in tropical reef ecosystems". Science News. doi:10.2307/3979305. JSTOR 3979305. Retrieved February 26, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Malik, Tariq (July 18, 2004). "Astronauts plunge into ocean to test new tools". Space.com. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  12. ^ Cooper, Craig (July 21, 2004). "Mission Blog - Mission & Project Info - NOAA's Aquarius Undersea Laboratory - Mission Journal 14 — Craig Cooper: Day 10: Tuesday, July 21st, 2004". National Undersea Research Center. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  13. ^ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (September 6, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  14. ^ NOAA (May 18, 2010). "NEEMO 8". University of North Carolina Wilmington. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  15. ^ NASA (April 21, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  16. ^ Talacek, James (June 10, 2006). "James Talacek: Mission Day 5: Saturday, June 10th, 2006". NURC. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  17. ^ "External Review Board Report of Findings and Recommendations" (PDF). American Academy of Underwater Sciences. August 27, 2009. p. 5. Retrieved July 16, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Cooper, Craig (July 22, 2003). "Mission Blog - Mission & Project Info - NOAA's Aquarius Undersea Laboratory - Mission Journal 10 — Craig Cooper: Day 9: Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003". National Undersea Research Center. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  19. ^ Cooper, Craig B. (February 23–24, 2006). Lang, Michael A.; Smith, N. Eugene (eds.). "Underwater Habitats at 300 FSW: A Thing of the Past, Or Still Viable Today?" (PDF). Proceedings of Advanced Scientific Diving Workshop. Smithsonian Institution: 166–170. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  20. ^ Rubin, Glenn (February 2005). "Navy Divers Find a New Dive Buddy" (PDF). Faceplate. 9 (1): 16–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  21. ^ Cooper, Craig (August 13, 1999). "Aquarius - Journal 5". University of North Carolina Wilmington. Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  22. ^ Clark, Cammy (February 26, 2010). "Time to decompress for good". The Miami Herald., cited in "Key Largo underwater research lab director to retire - McClatchy". The McClatchy Company. February 26, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-04-08. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  23. ^ Brown, Justin (July 2011). "Your The Only One, Dont Be The Last!". National Undersea Research Center. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  24. ^ Marteka, Peter (June 1, 2010). "Retired UConn Maritime Professor Dreams Of Undersea Research Facility". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 28, 2012.

External links[edit]