Blue Abyss to build Europe's first spaceflight tourism centre
UK-based company Blue Abyss Ltd plans to build Europe's first space environment simulation facility, dedicated to commercial diving, space exploration and human extreme environment research, to support the UK's £40bn 'Space Race' dream.
Above: Rendering of proposed pool.
Courtesy Blue Abyss and Cityscape Digital
The facility will back David Cameron’s hopes of a £40bn share of the global space market, by preparing tourists for safe space travel and supporting the research and development needs of the human spaceflight industry.
This week’s Queen’s speech saw the Government announce its ‘Star Trek’ Bill to set "the framework for the UK’s first spaceport… paving the way for commercial spaceflight". This announcement comes as Blue Abyss Ltd gears up to secure investment to build the most comprehensive spaceflight training, research and space hardware evaluation facility of its kind globally at the the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology park in Colchester
Tailor-made to serve the fast-growing human spaceflight market, Blue Abyss will house the world’s largest and deepest indoor pool at 50m (164 ft) by 40m (131 ft) by 50m (164 ft) deep, alongside hyper and hypobaric chambers, and a micro-gravity simulation suspension system for replicating the effects of weightlessness.
John Vickers, CEO, Blue Abyss said: “Blue Abyss will be able to fully serve this new and exciting market as the UK establishes itself as Europe’s leading commercial space-faring nation. Together with our partners, we will offer end-to-end ‘ground’ services for Space tourists to safely and effectively prepare them for their once in a lifetime trip.”
Pre-spaceflight briefing and training will be a necessity for all ‘Space tourists’, whether they touch the edge of space (sub-orbital) or actually go in to orbit. Travellers will need to prepare for the rigours of launch and return to Earth, and the weightless “microgravity” experienced during spaceflight, just as astronauts do. For those who will spend time in orbit, the most effective technique is ‘neutral buoyancy training’. This involves wearing a spacesuit and performing physical tasks whilst being submerged in water.
Dr Simon Evetts, Space Life Scientist at Blue Abyss, said: “We plan to combine neutral buoyancy training in the pool with additional, cutting-edge technology never used in this way before. This will offer individuals the most incredible and realistic spaceflight experience before they even leave the ground. The same technique will be used to provide a valuable training tool for Government astronauts preparing for Space missions.”
Other spaceflight preparations include parabolic flights, centrifuge training and detailed space environment courses for individuals going in to orbit, as well as briefings, medicals and simple familiarisation experiences for sub-orbital customers, all of which Blue Abyss together with its partners will be able to provide.
Former NASA Astronaut, seven-time Spacewalker and Blue Abyss Non-Executive Director, Dr. Scott Parazynski, said: “Blue Abyss is uniquely positioned to provide a pioneering, state-of-the-art facility delivering ‘space-ready’ humans for flight. Moreover, Blue Abyss will have infinite opportunities to advance new space and sub-sea technologies, helping the UK play a key role in the space and tech sectors globally.”
Blue Abyss Ltd is in the final stages of securing investment to build the facility. Blue Abyss is scheduled to be fully operational in mid-2018.