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SYFY WIRE astronauts

Take the plunge! England's Blue Abyss training pool will be the world's deepest

By Jeff Spry
blue abyss

Making a huge splash for underwater robotics testing, advancing human physiology experiments, and offering a proper dunk tank for budding astronauts, England's Blue Abyss Ltd. is creating the planet's biggest and deepest indoor pool in Cornwall. 

This massive swimming pool will hold 11 million gallons of water and will be utilized for a variety of private and corporate scientific enterprises, including acting as the world's first commercial astronaut proving ground for zero-gravity activities replicating conditions in space. 

Blue Abyss will be situated at Cornwall Airport Newquay and as all official permits and permissions become signed off on, the construction process is estimated to take roughly 18 months, with the state-of-the-art facility to open its doors sometime in 2023. 

Besides becoming the obvious choice for demonstrating underwater robot and drone technologies, the pool can be used for any type of nautical inventions, studying long-term effects on the human body, and deep-sea commercial diving outfits training new recruits and equipment.

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The $212 million, 10-acre Blue Abyss campus is destined to be built at the site's Aerohub Enterprise Zone near Spaceport Cornwall and the historic Goonhilly ground station. When finished, the deep pool will measure 164 feet long, 132 feet wide, and reach a slightly-spooky depth of 164 feet within a 52-foot-wide shaft, offering a total volume equal to 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

This ambitious project was developed by ex-forces diving instructor and management consultant, John Vickers, along with British astronaut Tim Peake consulting from the Blue Abyss advisory board.

British architect Robin Partington is leading the design team and his facility plans include the main pool, an astronaut training center, performance center, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers, microgravity suite, an educational center with six classrooms, onsite catering, and lodging accommodations.

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"We're planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses that tap into so many of the industries that Cornall and the Southwest are known for," says Vickers in an official press release. "Blue Abyss will be a huge research asset for aerospace, offshore energy, underwater robotics, human physiology, defense, leisure and marine industries, and a fantastic education center for children and university students. Cornwall already feels like our natural home, and we're delighted to receive such a warm response."

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