Blue Abyss research center to be built at RAF Henlow

Blue Abyss' 50-meter-deep pool (Image: Blue Abyss)

Blue Abyss deep sea to space research and test center will be constructed at a soon-to-close Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Bedfordshire in England.

The Blue Abyss team said it is working with Central Bedfordshire Council to create the £120 million facility on part of the site where the RAF Henlow station is located.

The RAF Henlow site is due for closure by 2020, while the construction start for the center is expected to begin at the end of the year, according to Blue Abyss.

The developers hope to start operating the center in 2019, bringing about 160 new jobs, Blue Abyss said.

Blue Abyss will house a 50-meter-deep pool, a hotel, an astronaut training center including parabolic flight capability, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers and a human performance center to enable divers, astronauts and top athletes to perform at the peak of their potential.

The pool, designed for testing purposes, will be suitable for testing and demonstrating offshore technologies, including wave and tidal devices, as well as subsea support services, Blue Abyss revealed earlier.

John Vickers, Blue Abyss’ Chief Executive, said: “Being part of something bigger, working closely with a proactive council in its enabling and planning capacity and bringing jobs to the area, means we can make the incredibly exciting facilities for the industries we will serve a reality, for UK plc and increase the profile of space travel, space adventure and tourism, deep-sea and offshore energy innovation.”

A launch event for Blue Abyss, sponsored by Northumbria University, was held at Cranfield University on June 27, and it welcomed the representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA), Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, Blue Abyss non-executive director, and representatives from central and local government.

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