Ask a bunch of kids what they want to do when they grow up and you’ll likely find one that wants to be an astronaut. And if they work hard at school they might just end up at the latest space training center in the UK. The world’s first private astronaut training center will be built in Bedfordshire this year and it will accept its first paying clients in 2020.
[Image Source: BlueAbyss]
50m dive pool, three times larger than NASA’s
The private astronaut training center facility, called ‘Blue Abyss’ will cost £120 million pounds and is located at RAF Henlow providing domestic and international companies easy access to the world-class facilities. The private astronaut training center will include a 50-meter deep pool, three times larger than the pool at the NASA, as well as a 120 room hotel and an astronaut training center. There is also a "human performance center" that will provide the best training and care to divers, astronauts and performance athletes. The UK will make itself the leader in commercial space facilities and will create itself as THE destination for private space travel companies to train potential customers.
The specialized equipment of the private astronaut training center includes a centrifuge base that gives future space travelers the opportunity to experience extreme G-forces as part of their training program. The huge pool will also provide space for testing of new submersible technologies including equipment used by oil, gas and renewable companies.
The UK introduces legislation to support private space exploration
The UK’s bid to lead the space industry in the race for private space exploration has been backed up by government legislation. The Space Industry Bill was introduced into the House of Lords this week, the bill opens the doors for private space exploration craft to leave from the UK.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “The Space Industry Bill will ensure the UK remains a leading player in the commercial space age by enabling small satellite launch from UK spaceports. The measures in the Bill will help make the UK the most attractive place in Europe for commercial launch and enable UK businesses to capture a growing share of this emerging global market.”
The training center is designed by the architect Robin Partington, who led the team that created the Gherkin Tower in London. Construction will begin this year and the facility should be launched by the end of 2019.
Commercial flights to space
Private space travel is being aggressively developed by SpaceX, Virgin and a range of other companies that plan to take paying customers on flights to space. None of the companies who plan these exorbitantly expensive trips have launch dates confirmed but companies are constantly refining technologies and potentially passenger-carrying spacecraft. There are now more private space launches than those from government funded space authorities.
It is expected that potential passengers would need to undergo rigorous health checks and some form of training before being cleared for the risky adventure. The Blue Abyss center will likely be a popular choice for European based space companies.