For more than four millennia man has worked under the sea employing a variety of diving techniques and devices. Always the wish was for more depth and bottom time for greater productivity at the work site.
In the early 1960s, the development of saturation diving made it possible to put divers on the seafloor for prolonged periods. Once under full-depth pressure, divers could live and work on the seafloor without frequent, long decompression procedures. There would be one decompression period at the end of the work mission; bottom time could be measured in days rather than hours. Concomitant with greater endurance was increased depth capability. Divers now could work at depths exceeding that of many military submarines.
Three research groups led pioneering work that developed these capabilities: the U.S. Navy's Dr. George Bond, American inventor Edwin Link, and Jacques Cousteau. From 1962 to 1964, their work in diving physiology, deep technology, and operational techniques launched the world's first "aquanauts," people who could live and work on the seafloor for long periods.