Dr. Shawna Pandya




Edmonton, Alberta


Dr. Shawna Pandya is a scientist-astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM, physician, aquanaut, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies and Fellow of the Explorers’ Club. She is also Director of the PosSUM Space Medicine Group and Chief Instructor of the PoSSUM Operational Space Medicine Group. She holds degrees in neuroscience (BSc Hons. Neuroscience, University of Alberta), space (MSc Space Studies, International Space University), entrepreneurship (Graduate Studies Program, Singularity University) and medicine (MD, University of Alberta), and is currently completing a fellowship in Wilderness Medicine (Academy of Wilderness Medicine).

In 2015, Dr. Pandya successfully 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 chief instructor for Project PoSSUM’s EVA 102: Operational Space Medicine, which ran its first iteration in Colorado in September 2017. As part of Project PoSSUM, she also completed slow onset hypobaric hypoxia training, centrifuge studies, aerobatic flight, basic, advanced emergency spacecraft egress and sea survival training, and high altitude noctilucent cloud research. Through PoSSUM, she has also completed courses in celestial navigation, planetary geology, and space physiology and life support systems. Dr. Pandya also completed a 2-week tour at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) analog in Utah as the Crew Health and Safety Officer, and led a crew as Commander in the first-ever MDRS station-to-station mission January 2020. 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 early 2020, Dr. Pandya was also named Director of the PoSSUM Space Medicine Group, which aims to catalyze the development of knowledge, data, testing, protocols, tools and technologies that will positively contribute to the development of space and terrestrial medicine.

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. 

Academic Background

BSc (Hons), MSc, MD, CCFP, FAWM (candidate), DMT.

Professional Interests

Medicine, space, space medicine, extreme environments, diving, aviation, dive medicine, emergency medicine, general practice. technology in medicine, immersive medicine (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality).


PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidate

Affiliations with IIAS-Sponsored Organizations

The PoSSUM 13

IIAS Courses Completed

AER 101: Suborbital Space Environment, AER 103: Airborne Imagery of Noctilucent CLouds, BIO 101: Space Flight Physiology, BIO 103: Microgravity Space Suit Evaluation, BIO 104: Post-Landing Space Suit Evaluation, EDU 101: Citizen-Science Research Methods, EVA 101: Life Support Systems, EVA 103; Planetary Field Geology and EVA Tool Development, EVA 104: Gravity-Offset EVA Space Suit Evaluation, OPS 102: Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations, OPS 104: Orbital Mechanics and Missoin Simulation

© 2020 International Institute for Astronautical Sciences