About The Person
Dr. Shawna Pandya is a citizen-scientist astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM, physician, aquanaut, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver and pilot-in-training. She holds degrees in neuroscience, space, entrepreneurship and medicine, and is currently completing a fellowship in Wilderness Medicine. In 2015, Dr. Pandya completed Scientist-Astronaut Candidate training with Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere) and was part of the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero-gravity; her work with Project PoSSUM and Final Frontier Design was captured in the CBC Documentary, “We Are Canada.” She has continued to test commercial spacesuits with Project PoSSUM’s annual microgravity parabolic flight campaigns, and has completed over 100 parabolas in microgravity to date. Dr. Pandya is also the lead instructor for Project PoSSUM’s EVA 102: Space and Wilderness Medicine course. As part of Project PoSSUM, she also completed hypobaric hypoxia training, centrifuge studies, aerobatic flight, basic and advanced emergency spacecraft egress and sea survival training, and high altitude noctilucent cloud research. Dr. Pandya also completed a 2-week tour at the Mars Desert Research Station analog in Utah as the Crew Health and Safety Officer. She has recently been named as an ambassador for the PoSSUM 13, an initiative to make space opportunities and engagement more accessible to students, particularly girls and young women. She also serves as the Chair of Strategic Development for this initiative. In 2019, Dr. Pandya attained her aquanaut designation during a 5-day underwater mission at the Jules Underwater Lodge and also completed the World Extreme Medicine Hyperbaric and Dive Medicine Course at Florida International University’s Aquarius Reef Base, where NASA NEEMO missions take place, attaining her Dive Medical Technician designation in the process. Her adventures and experiences were recently captured in the Land Rover short, released with the Apollo 11: First Steps film. In her spare time, Dr. Pandya practices Taekwondo (as a second-degree black belt) and Muay Thai. She is currently working towards her private pilot’s license and holds her accelerated free fall solo skydiving license and numerous SCUBA diving certifications. Dr. Pandya also sings and plays the piano.