The world’s biggest and deepest pool for testing the latest underwater technology, helping advance subsea robotics and even training astronauts is being planned in Cornwall.
amely, Blue Abyss, a £150 million facility which has the support of British astronaut Major Tim Peake, will be the world’s leading extreme environment research, test and training centre serving the offshore energy, marine, defence and space sectors.
It is planned for the Aerohub Enterprise Zone at Cornwall Airport Newquay, and is expected to create 160 jobs, pump £50m of build costs into Cornwall during its 18-month construction and generate £8m annually for the local economy. At the same time, it is hoped the pool could be used to help advance subsea robotics and to train astronauts.
What is more, Blue Abyss will appeal to a range of markets by simulating extreme environments in a safe and controlled setting and include the world’s first commercial astronaut training centre.
Other markets span offshore energy, maritime defence, ocean ecology, human life sciences and commercial diving, and will help in the further development of remotely operated subsea robots and mini submersibles.
The centrepiece of Blue Abyss is an aquatic centre featuring a 50m by 40m stepped pool with a 50m deep shaft. The pool holds over 42,000 cubic metres of water – the equivalent of 17 Olympic size swimming pools or 168 million cups of tea – making it the largest and deepest indoor pool in the world.
“We’re planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses that tap into so many of the industries that Cornwall and the South West are known for. 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.”
…John Vickers, chief executive of Blue Abyss, concluded.