The Blue Abyss UK centre in Cornwall will act as an enabler of human and technological operations in and the exploration of, extreme environments, in particular our oceans and space.

Our vision is to enable next-generation research, test and training facilities for the offshore energy, subsea technology, maritime defence, and commercial human spaceflight sectors.

Through utilizing the world’s largest multi-level R&D pool and other world- leading technology, we will enable clients to develop, evaluate and demonstrate innovative products and solutions, establish and optimise new operational methodologies, and advance the use of cutting-edge technologies in a controlled and configurable environment.

Enabling contemporaneous usage by a range of customers with differing needs and interests, Blue Abyss centres will promote collaboration and incubation of new ideas, technologies, and approaches, within and across the target sectors.

The Blue Abyss centre will be established at the Aerohub Enterprise Zone, Cornwall Airport, Newquay, complementing and supporting significant ongoing offshore energy and commercial spaceflight activities in the region. The centre build is scheduled from mid-2022 with a planned opening at the end of 2023/beginning of 2024.

We envision that the Blue Abyss facility will be a hub and national centre of excellence supporting the space cluster in delivering meaningful value to Cornwall and the UK.

OperatingModel

Blue Abyss is principally an infrastructure company; its business model is facility rental by client organisations in accordance with their product and solutions development schedules, training needs, and validation programmes. These needs are typically planned months, and in some cases, years in advance.

The core Blue Abyss facility/service provision is further enhanced by a series of experiential courses centred around human spaceflight preparation, alongside full spaceflight training as the commercial space sector continues to evolve and grow.

Furthermore, STEM related education curricula, skills training, apprenticeships and outreach programmes will be established with our academic partners and regional stakeholders.

Offshore and Alternative Energy

The UK government has reiterated its commitment to make the UK a net carbon zero economy by 2050 and increase its power generation from (principally) wind power and other initiatives such as hydrogen derived power, as part of generating 40% of the UK’s power needs from renewable sources by 2030.

In order to achieve these ambitious targets, the UK is looking to lead in the floating offshore wind (FLOW) energy sector. Whilst the likes of FLOW and Hydrogen energy demonstrably increases the available sites for new power installations, so new technology – tethers, cabling, connectors and automation for servicing and maintenance, will also need to be developed, tested and adopted. The ability to establish and operate these installations is only possible if focus is given to the attendant technology and T&E facilities required to support such innovation.

‘Blue’ Economy

The ‘Blue Economy’ focuses on sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem aquaculture, seabed extractive activities, and marine biotechnology and bioprospecting alongside maritime-centric tourism. Blue Abyss will help accelerate better stewardship of our oceans by showcasing new and emerging technologies, highlighting collaborative opportunities, and facilitating pre-open water trials to minimise the risks of deploying unproven equipment. Furthermore, with our academic partners the center will act as an education hub to help promote education regarding our oceans and the roles and opportunities they play.

Maritime Defence

Maritime security has always been and continues to be a vital underpinning for Britain. This field becomes ever more important in the UK and for other nations, as the stresses and strains on modern societies increase. The UK’s recent Integrated Review has placed greater emphasis on the North Atlantic theatre for the Royal Navy, alongside the rise in underwater technology as a means to counteract such threats and to help prevent attacks on key power and communication infrastructure.

Globally, the acceleration in unmanned underwater vehicles, alongside more advanced passive and active detection equipment and the increasing need for interoperability between technology and systems from different countries, has all increased the need for more up-to- date, technologically enhanced testing and evaluation capabilities. Needless to say, the Blue Abyss facilities are designed to support defense related marine security initiatives and enterprise.

Space Economy

The commercial human spaceflight sector is growing. Whilst the current focus is on hardware –SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin reusable launch systems being prime examples –there are presently no comprehensive commercial training and preparatory facilities of the scale and completeness proposed by Blue Abyss anywhere in the world. Blue Abyss will establish and operate the world’s first commercial astronaut training centres, providing services delivered by government accredited personnel (NASA, ESA, KBR).

Water is the only medium on Earth that can replicate the neutral buoyancy of space for prolonged periods. The centres’ pools will enable spacesuit training and familiarisation and incorporate underwater habitats that will mimic the confined living conditions and psychological stresses experienced in space.

Blue Abyss will initially provide physical and psychological evaluation, training, and preparation programmes for crew members and passengers of commercial space flight providers, alongside hi-fidelity astronaut training, and Lunar and Martian mission simulation experiences.

Two other elements are necessary for human spaceflight preparation: High-G (launch and re- entry phases), and Zero-G, (mimicking weightlessness) environments, which will be provided with our partners by means of Human Long Arm Centrifuges and Parabolic Flight services, respectively.

Outline of facilities
  • Multi-level pool with depths from 3m to 50m at deepest point
  • Lifting platforms, cranes
  • Poolside workshops
  • AR/VR/XR suite
  • On-site ‘mission control’ consoles
  • Hyperbaric and hypobaric chambers
  • State-of-the-art lecture rooms and amphitheatre
  • Education center
  • Hotel

 

Space related:
  • Astrolab platform at 12m depth for space innovation
  • Pressurised living habitat (able to house up to six personnel) at 12m
  • Parabolic flight service for hypo-G training/research
  • Long arm centrifuge for human and technology hyper-G training/research
  • Body suspension suite for Space life science R&D

Blue Abyss

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Meet some of the businesses in Cornwall working in the space technology sector.

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