Blue Abyss founder and CEO, John Vickers attended the 74th International Astronautical Congress which took place 2-6 October, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan, organised by the International Astronautical Federation.
Mr. Vickers presented a paper entitled “Preparation and Training of Astronauts and Ground Force at Blue Abyss” co-authored by Blue Abyss colleagues Prof. Dr. Vladimir Pletser and Prof. Simon N Evetts, at The Space Operations Symposium.
The paper and presentation covered Mission Operations, Validation, Simulation and Training via three key aspects of Blue Abyss’ forthcoming state-of-the-art international training facilities, each designed to tackle a specific aspect of space training:
1. Human Centrifuges:
At the core of the training arsenal are the human centrifuges, which expose trainees to high gravitational forces. This prepares them for the rigours of launch and return to Earth, where G-forces can vary significantly. From a gentle 1G to an intense 12G, these centrifuges ensure future astronauts experience high-G.
2. Aircraft Parabolic Flights:
For training in various gravity conditions, Blue Abyss offers aircraft parabolic flights. These flights simulate zero gravity (0g), partial gravity, and hypergravity levels ranging from 0g to 3g. With dedicated mock-ups, props and integrated XR on board, these flights provide a versatile platform for research, operational testing, and training. It’s an essential tool for familiarising astronauts with micro-G conditions.
3. Deep R&D Pools:
To simulate conditions in space, Blue Abyss pools are equipped with platforms ranging from three to 12 meters with a main shaft descending to 50 meters deep. An intriguing feature is the Astrolab platform at 12 meters, designed for short to long-duration simulations of crews living and working in underwater pressurised modules. With specially adapted buoyancy equipment, these pools mimic the conditions of 0g, lunar gravity (Moon g), and Martian gravity (Mars g).
A Holistic Approach to Training
What sets Blue Abyss apart is its holistic approach to training, focussing both on physical readiness and cognitive preparedness. Trainees will undergo rigorous testing at various gravity levels, ensuring they’re not only physically fit but mentally sharp. This integrated approach allows trainees to be prepared for extravehicular activities (EVAs) and various space mission procedures. Whether it’s an EVA from an orbital space station in low Earth orbit or a future lunar mission from the Moon Gateway station, Blue Abyss will ensure astronauts are prepared.
Expanding the Future of Space Workforce
Blue Abyss isn’t just about training individuals; it’s about shaping the future space workforce needed to operate the ever-growing commercial space sector, the centres under development will become hubs for preparing the next generation of astronauts. In the grand scheme of space exploration, Blue Abyss is carving a path towards a brighter and more prepared future. An integrated training approach and state-of-the-art facilities will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the astronauts of tomorrow, ensuring readiness to explore the depths of space.