Thanks to the efforts of SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other space companies, we’re on the cusp of the era of commercial spaceflight, which means ordinary people will soon need to receive instruction on how to deal with the trials and tribulations of space. To that end, the world’s first commercial space training center, Blue Abyss, will open in 2019 in the United Kingdom.
The facility is expected to cost around $150 million to construct, and it will include several features designed to support the excursions of both private citizens and organizations into space. Its centrifuge base will simulate the g-forces felt in space, and the center will be able to offer parabolic flight training to prepare people for the weightlessness of space. Physiology professionals will be onsite to conduct physicals and advise future astronauts on the effects of space on the body.
Blue Abyss will also house the world’s biggest 50-meter-deep pool. The pool will be customizable to accommodate a range of uses, giving divers, marine explorers, and companies the ability to train or test out equipment that could be used in space exploration or here on Earth.
Blue Abyss is part of a wider attempt by the United Kingdom to become an industry leader in commercial spaceflight — by 2030, the nation hopes to increase its share of the global space economy from 6.5 percent to 10 percent.
In addition to announcing this new training facility, the U.K. recently introduced the Space Industry Bill, which includes plans to build rocket, space plane, and satellite launching facilities. This bill could help humanity prepare for the era of space flight by setting a precedent for legislation and regulation. Other countries could use it as a legal framework on which to base their own space-focused legislation, which is one of the hurdles we’ll need to overcome to truly enter the era of commercial space exploration.
In total, the U.K.’s efforts could have a fundamental impact on global space travel. While companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin develop systems that will make space accessible to all of us, we need to make ourselves ready for space first by undergoing training at centers like Blue Abyss.