Kathryn D. Sullivan is a former NASA astronaut. She was the third American woman and fifth woman overall to fly into space. Sullivan was the second woman in history, and the first American woman, to perform a spacewalk in 1984. On a later mission, she helped deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.

Being an astronaut is just one of the jobs Sullivan has performed over the years. She was a captain in the U.S. Navy. Another post she held was as the US undersecretary for commerce and atmosphere. Later, she was appointed as the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also known as NOAA.

Deep-sea explorer could also be added to the list.

Successfully descends to Challenger Deep

Newsweek reports that Sullivan was part of a two-person crew that traveled to Challenger Deep. She is the eighth person to reach such depths, and the first woman to do so. Sullivan is also the first person to reach outer space and the deepest-documented point of the Earth's surface.

The diver was performed as part of a study of the so-called Ring of Fire. It was done in a submersible called Limiting Factor. Limiting Factor had made several trips to Challenger Deep in the past. It's the first vehicle to achieve the feat multiple times, according to The Independent.

The duration of the dive lasted approximately 14 hours.

When the dive was completed, a special telephone call was made. EYOS Expeditions, the private company overseeing the dive, coordinated a call to the International Space Station. Parties on both ends were able to compare notes on their missions and their special equipment.

"As a hybrid oceanographer and astronaut, this was an extraordinary day," Sullivan said.

Sullivan has a doctorate in Geology from Canada's Dalhousie University. She also holds a bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences, which was obtained from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Challenger Deep is located in Micronesian waters

Challenger Deep is found roughly seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. It's in the southern area of the Marianas Trench, also sometimes referred to as the Mariana Trench.

Much of the trench is considered to be American territory. However, Challenger Deep is not. Instead, it's within territory designated to the Federated States of Micronesia.

The name stems from the HMS Challenger. The Challenger was a British Navy corvette that discovered the depression during the 1870s. The first manned expedition to the site took place in early 1960. It was performed by Jacques Piccard of Switzerland and Don Walsh of the United States.

Issues including the intense pressure and low temperatures make traveling to Challenger Deep very difficult. Not much is known about what kind of lifeforms live there. Some that are thought to reside there include sea cucumbers, scale worms, bristle worms, and shrimp.