Kevin Juergensen may be a familiar name to many as a developer of diving equipment and underwater technology. However, his accomplishments go far beyond that and have been nothing short of remarkable. From his humble beginnings in the small fishing town of San Pedro, California, to his career as an underwater wildlife filmmaker to his groundbreaking work in the diving industry and now as an aerospace pioneer, Juergensen's career has been defined by tireless effort, unwavering commitment, and an unrelenting drive for perfection.
One of Juergensen's early accomplishments in the field of aerospace engineering was co-authoring a scientific paper on the next-generation spacesuit design. The paper outlined the integration of recent patents by both Juergensen and co-author Dr. Joseph Dituri in the monitoring and control of hypoxia and hypercapnia conditions in astronauts. It was an important contribution to the field of space exploration, and it showed Juergensen's early interest in aerospace safety and life support systems.
Juergensen's interest in safety and life support systems would later lead him to the aerospace industry. Beginning around 2008, the US Air Force began experiencing problems in their advanced F-22 fighter jet where pilots were experiencing symptoms of oxygen starvation, known medically as "hypoxia." This problem extended to the F/A-18 Super Hornet as well as other advanced fighter jets. Because of his work with oxygen control systems in diving for the US Navy and NATO, as well as oxygen rescue systems for mining, Juergensen was invited to present a white paper to the Office of Naval Research on the creation of a "Hypoxia Alarm and Mitigation System'' for fixed-wing tactical fighter aircraft. The paper caught the attention of Boeing and Martin-Baker Aircraft, which contracted Juergensen to produce a prototype of this unique system.
The resulting prototype was tested by the Royal Australian Air Force in their F/A-18 Super Hornet and hypoxia simulators, showing promising results, mitigating an induced hypoxia event in test pilots within 1.5 seconds, consistently before the pilots themselves could even identify their weakened condition.
In 2016, Juergensen received another contract from the Royal Australian Air Force to design and build what became the "Multiple Gas Detection System (MGDS)" for the F/A-18 Super Hornet fixed-wing tactical fighter jet. This system was designed to monitor a range of gasses inside the cockpit during flight operations to detect any contaminant gasses. Juergensen's work on this system highlighted his attention to detail and his ability to create solutions to complex problems.
Kevin Juergensen's journey from underwater wildlife filmmaker to aerospace pioneer is one of determination and perseverance. His contributions to the aerospace industry have been vital in ensuring the safety and well-being of pilots and astronauts alike.