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19 Jun 2021

Plans revealed to build world's deepest pool, Blue Abyss, in the UK
BY Tom Walker

The centrepiece of Blue Abyss is a 50m by 40m stepped pool with a 50m deep shaft

The centrepiece of Blue Abyss is a 50m by 40m stepped pool with a 50m deep shaft
photo: Blue Abyss

Plans have been revealed to build the world's deepest pool in Cornwall, UK, which would house facilities serving the spaceflight, sports science and healthcare communities.

The £150m project would see an aquatic centre, housing a 164ft (50m) deep pool built at the Aerohub Enterprise Zone at Cornwall Airport.

The project is led by a privately-funded company, Blue Abyss, which is now in the process of applying for planning permission.

The centrepiece of Blue Abyss will be an aquatic centre featuring a 50m by 40m stepped pool with a 50m deep shaft. The pool will hold more than 42,000 cubic metres of water – the equivalent of 17 Olympic size swimming pools – making it the largest and deepest indoor pool in the world.

A sliding roof and 30-tonne crane will allow large objects to be lowered into the pool, from simulated sections of the International Space Station to underwater film sets and even cave systems to test remote operated vehicles or train deep-sea divers.

With the facility, Blue Abyss wants to "revolutionise extreme environment research and training in Europe".

The centre will offer state-of-the-art whole system human physiology and human-robotic interface R&D capabilities, serving the human spaceflight, sports science and terrestrial healthcare communities.

The on-site Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre will look to cater particularly for the professional sports sector – as well as healthcare – with an emphasis on rehabilitation from physical deconditioning.

Blue Abyss will look to form academic partnership with national and international universities, drawing on its resources to execute R&D projects, providing a mix of expertise and facilities.

In all, the 10-acre site is set to house the pool, an astronaut training centre, the Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers, microgravity suite, training centre with six classrooms, workshops, onsite catering and accommodation facilities.

There will also be a visitor and educational centre.

Blue Abyss has been designed by British architect Robin Partington, who led the design team for The Gherkin in London.

Once open, the facility is expected to generate £8m annually for the local economy.

Blue Abyss CEO, for British Army diving instructor, John Vickers, said: "We're planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses that tap into so many of the industries that Cornwall and the South West are known for.

"Blue Abyss will be a huge research asset for aerospace, offshore energy, underwater robotics, human physiology, defence, leisure and marine industries – and a fantastic education centre for children."

Other deep pools in the world include Y-40, The Deep Joy a thermal pool in Italy.



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