Designed by British architect Robin Partington, the center will be built on a 10-acre site, in the Aerohub Business Park at Cornwall Airport Newquay, near Spaceport Cornwall. It will house a giant pool, with a 40m by 50m (131 x 164 feet) surface, a 52 feet (15 m) wide shaft and 164 feet (50 m) depth. The pool will be able to hold 42,000 cubic liters of water, which is the equivalent of 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In order for large objects to be lowered into it, the pool features a sliding roof and 30-ton crane. Plus, factors such as temperature, lighting and salinity can be controlled, so that the pool can mimic various conditions, depending on the type of test or research that’s being conducted. Besides the unique pool, Blue Abyss will also include hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers, an astronaut training center, a human performance center, and accommodation facilities.
As its name suggests, this incredibly deep pool will create the perfect environment for a variety of groundbreaking projects, not just astronaut training. Royal Navy officials have already expressed their interest in it for developing underwater capabilities, university research teams will study remotely operated subsea robots, and even offshore energy projects will benefit from this.
The $213 million (£150 million) project is currently applying for planning permission in Cornwall and will begin operating by 2023.