Curt Newport

Author of: Lost Spacecraft

Curt Newport is a pioneer in the development and operation of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and works in government operations as an Assistant Project Manager at Phoenix International, Inc.

During his work with underwater vehicles, he has accumulated over 4000 hours of piloting time operating Canadian, U.S., and British vehicles in the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, English Channel, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Campeche, Formosa Straits, Sea of Japan, Indian Ocean, Straits of Sicily, South China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Overall, he has piloted ROVs on over 60 undersea operations and is regarded as one of the most experienced submersible vehicle pilots in the world. He has participated in numerous high-profile undersea operations such as the salvage of Air India Flight 182, the Space Shuttle Challenger, TWA 800, the broadcast of live images from the sunken ocean liner RMS Titanic, as well as many other classified missions involving the loss of military aircraft and weaponry.

In particular, he organized and led an expedition to locate and recover Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft which succeeded in finding the tiny capsule on May 1, 1999 and recovering the space-age artifact from waters 16,043 feet deep later the same year. The Liberty Bell-7 recovery remains the deepest commercial salvage operation in history. Mr. Newport’s accomplishments were also observed by his alma mater when Capitol College in Laurel, Maryland recently conveyed to him the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (D. Sc.) for his role in the recovery of Grissom’s sunken Mercury spacecraft.

He also led an expedition to the Philippine Sea during a search for the Heavy Cruiser USS Indianapolis, which was the subject of a documentary film broadcast on the Discovery Channel in 2001. In addition, Newport found and documented the deepest wooden shipwreck ever discovered (a 19th century merchant ship lost in over 16,000 feet of water) in June of 2001, using two Russian Mir manned submersibles operating from the Research Vessel Akademik Keldysh. Newport also led a search for the Argentine Cruiser ARA General Belgrano in the South Atlantic ocean in 2003 on behalf of National Geographic Television and Film. In early 2007, he participated in the finding and recovery of the Australian Navy’s Blackhawk 221 helicopter off the coast of Fiji (in 8,800 feet of seawater) and that Navy’s Remora submarine rescue system off Fremantle, Australia (450 feet of seawater).

Mr. Newport also designs and flies experimental rockets and recently completed a successful first flight of his 200 lb. Proteus 6 sounding rocket which reached an altitude of over 85,000 feet and a maximum velocity of Mach 3.0 in September of 2008, during the Balls 17 event at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

He has lectured on behalf of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Kansas Aviation Museum, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Boston Museum of Science, St. Louis Science Center, the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, and been interviewed by various media organizations such as NBC’s Today Show and Evening News, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, CBS Morning News, USA Today, Florida Today, British Broadcasting Company, National Public Radio, CBS National Radio, Reuters, the History Channel, and the Associated Press.

Mr. Newport currently resides in Potomac, Maryland, where he organizes and supports various underwater operations on an international basis.

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