Blue Abyss

Vision

A vision for the future of deep sea and space innovation and exploration

We dream about a better world and a more sustainable future for today's society and for future generations. As human beings we are constantly exploring, constantly searching for answers. To fly higher, to dive deeper. To better understand our planet, and to discover what is out there.

Blue Abyss is among the most ground-breaking projects of its time. This state-of-the-art facility aims to become the world’s premier deep-sea and space extreme environment research, training and test centre. Brainchild of ex-forces diving instructor and technology consultant John Vickers, planning began back in September 2014.

“As Apollo 11 Astronaut, Michael Collins said, ‘It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand. Exploration is not a choice really; it’s an imperative.’ I wanted to push boundaries, to go beyond the expected, to plan for the future, not just for today. This is a huge undertaking, but the reality will be a legacy for generations to come.” says John.

Not a day goes by when we're not contemplating Blue Abyss' contribution to the advancement of human exploration. Reality is just around the corner. But in the meantime, our 'Vision 2020' series looks ahead to the year 2020 to give you a taste of things to come.

Vision 2020

Blue Abyss - Vision

The facility

  • Multi-layered pool
  • Sliding roof to facilitate insertion of larger objects into pool
  • Astronaut Training Centre
  • Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre
  • Hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers
  • Microgravity suite
  • Training centre with six classrooms
  • Diving quality compressed gas supply – air and NITROX
  • Secure workshops, lay down areas and storage
  • Onsite catering
  • Hotel
Blue Abyss - Vision
Blue Abyss - Vision

The pool

This globally unique aquatic centre will house the largest and deepest indoor pool of its kind globally. The pool will have several entrance points and feature multi-stepped depths to accommodate for a variety of activities and simultaneous use, leading down to the 50m shaft. On one side of the pool, a large table-like area at 12m will be able to house, for example, a mock section of the International Space Station for astronaut training.

The multi-level pool is 50m x 40m on the surface and 50m at its deepest point. Containing 42,000m3 of water, the pool exceeds all other facilities in existence both in terms of volume and depth.

The site

Blue Abyss will form the heart of an emerging vision by Central Bedfordshire Council to create a science, innovation and technology park to regenerate the site of RAF Henlow. Behind the facility’s sweeping design is eminent architect Robin Partington, whose work has shaped the greatest changes on London’s skyline.

Blue Abyss - Vision

Education and outreach

Supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education is important to Blue Abyss. We hope to inspire children to become the next generation of aqua- and astro-nauts, explorers and scientists, with hands-on learning at primary level, right through to opportunities for under-graduates to work on live research projects.

“The partnership with Blue Abyss means education programmes will be significantly strengthened through the inclusion of both theoretical and practical modules that no other facility in the world currently delivers for formalised education support.”
Professor Anu Ojha OBE, Director UK National Space Academy & President Astronautic Records Commission, FAI

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