New CBS Reality Show Boasts a NASA Diver Among the Cast

Callie Cattell, a commercial fisherman and NASA diver, competes on CBS reality show Tough As Nails

CBS Callie Cattell, a commercial fisherman and NASA diver, competes on CBS reality show Tough As Nails

The latest reality show to debut this summer is a brand-new competition series on CBS called Tough As Nails. It takes 12 Americans from all walks of life whose common thread is that they work in tough, gritty jobs — ironworker, firefighter, welder, Marine Corps veteran, and more. They will compete both as individuals and on teams to win cash and prizes, with one of them ultimately being crowned the Tough As Nails champion.

One of the competitors is Callie Cattell, a 28-year-old from Bend, Oregon, who spends her time working as a commercial fisherman in the frigid waters off the Alaskan coast. But in addition to that harrowing job, Cattell is also a diver for NASA. Read on to find out more about this exciting new reality TV star.


A NASA Diver is Someone Who Trains Astronauts

One look at Cattell’s Instagram shows off dozens of photos of her training NASA astronauts to prepare for spacewalking. The training takes place at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) in Houston, Texas, where NASA built a large-scale mockup of the International Space Station that they then placed in a giant swimming pool because, according to CNET’s behind-the-scenes look at the NBL, NASA “has long considered working below the surface in neutrally buoyant conditions an ideal way to train for the zero-G environment of space.”

The pool is 200 feet long, 100 feet wide, 40 feet deep and holds over 6 million gallons of water. Nearly every day, two astronauts come to the NBL for a six-hour underwater training session because that is the length of a typical extravehicular activity session — EVAs, also known as spacewalks.

Each astronaut practices doing a spacewalk in the 350-pound spacesuit and is surrounded by four divers — one with a camera, one to help with tools, and two for safety.

In May 2017, Cattell accepted the position of Dive Operations Specialist at the NBL. She wrote on Instagram at the time, “Diving with astronauts is a dream come true. I can’t wait to personally help our journey to space. Such a blessing to do what I do. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

And NASA must like what Cattell does because, in December 2018, she was given an outstanding performance award for her “excellent performance and willingness to take on new responsibilities. Your exceptional speaking talents leave visitors and special guests with a professional and exciting impression of the training efforts the NBL.”


Cattell Works As The Deck Boss of The Beachcomber Fishing Vessel Alongside Her Father

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When she isn’t training astronauts for space, Cattell works as the deck boss on her father’s fishing vessel, the Beachcomber, in Alaska, something she’s been doing since she was just 15 years old — though she probably had to work her way up to deck boss.

“My dad has been a commercial fisherman for 36 years and now I’m definitely my dad’s favorite. I’m the deck boss on the boat. It can be extremely dangerous at times and when things start to get hairy up there, it will go south extremely fast. But I’ve always enjoyed the dangerous things. Every single dollar you make up there you touch with your bare hands,” said Cattell in the Tough As Nails premiere.

She added, “We don’t have a shower. We also don’t have a bathroom. We all share a bucket. It’s a very nice bucket. But I do wash my face in the ocean and that will give you the most flawless skin. That’s the truth.”

After Tough As Nails is over, does anyone have the number for Deadliest Catch?

Also, if you’d like to support the Cattells’ fishing venture, it appears they are part of the Sitka Salmon Shares company, working as a member of the Haines Packing Co. group that hauls in crab shares for customers. The website hails the Haines group as a “community-based, family-owned fishing outfit and processor out of Haines, Alaska, well known for their high-quality seafood and respectful handling.”

Tough As Nails airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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