CHRISTMAS UPDATE | DECEMBER 2023
As has become something of a tradition, it is my pleasure to bring you this year's CEO’s update regarding Blue Abyss’ progress over the past 12 months and as usual offer our warm wishes to you and your families at Christmas.
As we stand on the brink of another year's end, I find myself pausing to contemplate the remarkable journey that has been Blue Abyss. It's a journey that began back in October 2014 when I set the wheels in motion, albeit officially registering the company a month later. Little did I know back then the magnitude of the venture I was embarking upon and in retrospect, perhaps it's a blessing that I didn't fully comprehend the enormity of the challenge that lay ahead.
2023 however has been a year of significant progress as you will see below and we've emerged stronger, more resilient, and better poised than ever before.
The progress we have made in the US with our Cleveland site has been significant. In the State of Ohio and the City of Brook Park, we have found partners that share the bold vision I’ve always had for what a Blue Abyss centre can achieve, not just financially and economically but also in terms of being a key part of a state and nation’s infrastructure.
As ever I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed, supported, worked, and cheered for us on this tumultuous path. It was never going to be an easy journey, no matter what I might have initially thought. Yet it's a journey that holds tremendous promise and we're determined to achieve all we set out to do and more.
In the words of Bill Bradley
Ambition is the road to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
It’s fair to say that our ambition knows no bounds, and our persistence is unwavering.
Newquay, Cornwall, UK
The engagement has continued throughout 2023 with various government bodies and trade associations including Spaceport Cornwall, Cornwall County Council, The Department for Business and Trade and SW Business Council to establish concrete government support for the project without notable progress. This included making an application for funding from the Good Growth, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Prosperity fund, which unfortunately was not successful.
Artists Impression of the UK site, adjacent to Newquay Airport.
While the loss of Virgin Oribit’s Launcher One rocket in January may have some questioning the validity of a mature Space industry in the future, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The UK Space sector continues to thrive with interesting developments in satellite technology and fledgling plans for astronauts from the United Kingdom to fly to space on a future Axiom Space mission.
In addition to Space, the Blue Abyss centre in the UK will serve numerous other sectors including Subsea, Maritime and Energy, among others.
A UK consultancy firm, SC Strategy will shortly be engaged to drive engagement across government and industry, along with evolving the wider narrative around the importance of the Blue Abyss facility to the UK’s defence and security infrastructure.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
We stand on the brink of finalising funding for the land purchase and initial pre-development activities for the US site. Alongside this, we have ongoing applications with several Ohio state and county departments for grants, tax credits and bonds which will help raise significant capital for the US project. We have also engaged with several investors in the US to raise additional equity and we expect the full capital stack to be in place during the second half of 2024.
The 12 acres of land being purchased is adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and close to NASA’s Glenn research facility. There is potential to acquire an additional five acres of land in the future. Ground surveys have been completed and the initial planning application is being prepared.
Satellite view of the US site, adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
In support of the investment case, Kent State University recently delivered a detailed Economic Impact Study which concluded that in five years, the facility and hotel will produce an additional $654M of local economic benefit, create or support 3,900 additional jobs and add $277M to local resident’s incomes. The study also forecasts long-term socio-economic benefits, including creating or supporting an astounding 21,800 jobs and enhancing the local economy to the tune of $3.6Bn over 30 years. It is wonderful to have such evidence to support the Blue Abyss vision in Ohio.
Further to this, a wide-ranging market study has been launched with a US consultancy firm to validate revenue assumptions in our US business case as well as identify new revenue sources from non-space, defence and subsea markets. The study will also identify and validate brand partnerships and building naming rights.
Additional appointments include Gateway Group as local Project Developer and Prime AE as Lead Architect in the US.
2023 has seen the momentum that has been gradually building in the commercial space market come to the fore. We are now engaged with three of the four consortia that are building commercial space stations and have celebrated the successful delivery of a £1m contract to develop the Saudi Space Agency's astronaut selection and training programme, which has further boosted the credibility of the Blue Abyss team.
We are in the process of finalising a NASA Space Act Agreement and the leadership team at NASA Glenn has told me they see Blue Abyss as a key piece of the infrastructure to enable their plans for the Artemis programme.
Once again, the team has grown and participated in multiple cross-sector activities globally. Below are just some of the highlights!
In the past 12 months, Blue Abyss was represented at many international conferences and events by Professor Vladimir Pletser. In July 2023, Prof. Pletser spoke at the IV Seminar on Space Research and Extreme Environments, organized by the Universidade Federal das Ciências da Saúde (UFCSPA), of Porto Alegre, Brazil. He gave an invited keynote lecture titled "Training future astronauts for extra-terrestrial planetary missions".
In May 2023, Vladimir spoke at the Analog Astronaut Conference 2023, organised by the University of Arizona, where he presented a paper titled "Training at Blue Abyss: Your next steps toward space".
In March 2023, The Space Medicine Nucleus, Center for Innovation and e-Health, organised by the Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie Carol Davila, of Bucharest, Romania, where VP delivered an invited lecture titled "Aircraft parabolic flights, a gateway to space, Moon and Mars gravities".
In February 2023, the Aviation and Space Medicine Society Conference 'Is Space Safe for the Human Body?', organised by the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, he gave an invited keynote lecture by Zoom, titled "A Career in Space Operations and Research".
In October 2023, John attended the 74th International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Congress, in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he presented a paper "Preparation and Training of Astronauts and Ground Force at Blue Abyss".
In addition, of course, John has been leading the day-to-day mission with numerous visits and presentations to Ohio and Cornwall to meet with investors, stakeholders and partners. He has been instrumental in delivering numerous MOUs across international government, industry and academia.
This year John was nominated for the Heropreneurs Awards, in the category 'Heropreneur of the Year'. Did you know? In his ‘spare’ time, John serves as the Chairman of Leavers' Link, a voluntary organisation that helps Forces leavers find rewarding employment.
Dr Mindy Howard. The Cosmic Girls Foundation
This year Mindy started a global charity called Cosmic Girls Foundation. The mission is to get girls into space and make gender equity a reality by including geographically diverse and economically vulnerable girls within the incoming space generation.
The Cosmic Girls Foundation gives young women aged 14-19 the opportunity to enter the astronaut talent pipeline by offering training in mastering three key skills: STEAM skills, key life skills, and astronaut skills, with the help of program partners around the world.
Through its ‘Six Girls- Six Continents’ competition, the foundation will offer six finalists world-class astronaut training, and one winner, the chance to participate in an actual suborbital spaceflight.
Blue Abyss is pleased to support Mindy and the Cosmic Girls Foundation in this wonderful endeavor.
For more information see the website at: www.cosmicgirls.org
Hiro and the panel members 7th Annual Global Moon Village Symposium
Blue Abyss VP Business Development APAC, Hirokazu Mori has been very active in the region. He has spoken at several events, and on the radio in Japan. Perhaps most notably at the 11th Annual World Congress of Ocean by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), about the maritime application of the Blue Abyss facilities. Hiro also participated in a panel discussion at the 7th Global Moon Village Symposium by the Moon Village Association, held in Kurashiki, Japan.
Human Spaceflight Team
The team includes 18 professionals with extensive experience and deep domain knowledge in the field of Human Spaceflight (HSF) including space medicine, space psychology, extreme environment performance and astronaut selection.
In 2023 the team concluded its first international contract, producing a package designed to enable the Saudi Space Agency to conduct its astronaut selection campaign, establish an associated basic training programme and provide guidance regarding advanced pre-mission training.
Blue Abyss Human Spaceflight Team and Saudi Space Agency workshop
In the past 12 months, the team has delivered over 1000 pages, across 35 documents, participated in 41 collaborative workshops and visited 12 potential in-country locations to assess suitability for astronaut selection and training activity.
The Blue Abyss team has been strengthened with the appointment of several key roles during 2023. These include:
- Marc Drew, Chief Operating Officer
- Dishan De Silva Chief Financial Officer
- Richard Tanner, Maritime Sector Executive Lead
- Julian Coleman, XR Technology Commercial Lead
Additional candidates are being interviewed and further appointments are expected to be made in early 2024.
With the warmest of wishes, we look forward to 2024.
Share this story