The Tektite Project
The Tektite Project was conducted in 1969 in a cooperative effort
by the U.S. Department of the interior, the U.S. Navy, The National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and General Electric.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects on human
beings of living and working underwater for prolonged periods
The name of the project, Tektite, comes from a glassy meteorite
that can be found on the sea bottom.
An underwater habitat, which was built by the General Electric
Corporation and originally designed to be the model for the orbiting
skylab, was placed on concrete footings fifty feet below the surface
of Beehive Cove. It consisted of two eighteen-foot high towers
joined together by a passageway.
Inside the towers were four circular rooms twelve feet in diameter.
There was also a room, which served as a galley and a bunkhouse,
a laboratory, and an engine room. The habitat was equipped with
a hot shower, a fully equipped kitchen, blue window curtains,
a radio and a television. A room on the lowest level called the
wet room was where the divers could enter and leave the habitat
through a hatch in the floor that always stayed open.
The four aquanauts, Ed Clifton, Conrad Mahnken, Richard Waller
and John VanDerwalker, who took part in the first Tektite project
lived under constant surveillance by cameras and microphones and
often slept monitored by electroencephalograms (EEG) and electrocardiograms
EKG to monitor their heart rates, brain waves and sleep patterns.
The project lasted for fifty-eight days and the men set a world
record for time spent underwater, breaking the old record of thirty
days held by astronaut Scott Carpenter in the Sea lab II habitat.
See St. John Times Tektite Article