On February 21st 2017, the UK government published a draft of the Spaceflight Bill. This much awaited document signifies the launch of a £10 million scheme to incentivise the commercial spaceflight market and outlines plans to regulate spaceflight activities from spaceports located in the UK. So, how does the Spaceflight Bill and Blue Abyss fit together to make this project a reality – and how will freediving benefit from this?
Overview of the Bill
In explanatory notes accompanying the Spaceflight Bill, it confirms “…commercial spaceflight is a rapidly growing and evolving sector…” and that “…the global market for small satellites is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decade…”. This Bill is the beginning of a regulatory framework for future commercial spaceflight activities from spaceports within the UK.
In the government’s own press release, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
“…Spaceflight offers the UK the opportunity to build on our strengths in science, research and innovation. It provides opportunities to expand into new markets, creating highly-skilled jobs and boosting local economies across the country…
We want to see the UK space sector flourish, that is why we are laying the groundwork needed for business to be able to access this lucrative global market worth an estimated £25 billion over the next 20 years. The call for proposals I announced today, together with a new, dedicated Spaceflight Bill, will help make our space ambitions a reality…”
Shortlisted locations for spaceport sites include; Newquay in Cornwall, Llanbedr in Snowdonia, and Glasgow Prestwick, Campbeltown and Stornaway in Scotland.
The Spaceflight Bill and Blue Abyss
The Spaceflight Bill and Blue Abyss combined, is one of the most exciting projects in the world in relation commercial spaceflight. It’s vision to become the first facility in the world to provide an entire spaceflight package for travellers is an immense undertaking, but when you consider the preparation and training that would be required in order to ensure safe spaceflight travel, it makes perfect sense for this training to be centralised and specialised in one all-encompassing facility.
Examining the intentions and visions of both the Spaceflight Bill and Blue Abyss, it is evident that spaceflight as an emerging market will require exceptionally detailed licences and conditions. This coupled with the rate at which technology develops and the rapidly evolving training that will undoubtedly need to become an integral part of the success of this project, further amplifies the need for a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all spaceflight preparation.
Located in Essex, and due to open in 2019, Blue Abyss will be providing some of the most exciting, innovative training and research facilities in the world.
Services and facilities will include:
- Neutral buoyancy
- World’s largest neutral buoyancy pool
- Parabolic flight and centrifuge training
- Hyper and hypobaric chambers
- Micro-gravity simulation suite
- Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre for extreme environment research (the laws permit biomedical research and scientific experiments on conditions affecting the human body).
Blue Abyss: NOT ONLY WILL BLUE ABYSS HOUSE THE WORLD’S LARGEST NEUTRAL BUOYANCY POOL, BUT IT WILL OFFER A WEALTH OF FACILITIES AND SERVICES TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE EMBRYONIC COMMERCIAL HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT MARKET, WHICH WILL CHANGE THE NATURE OF SOCIETY IN THE YEARS AHEAD,” SAYS PROFESSOR SIMON EVETTS, BLUE ABYSS SPACE OPERATIONS DIRECTOR.
Commercial spaceflight is estimated to be worth a phenomenal £25billion over the next 20 years, according to government sources. Harnessing and developing interest in spaceflight is another strand Blue Abyss has already revealed as part of their service delivery. An intention to offer spaceflight ‘experiences’ at its facility will become available in the future.
So, how does freediving benefit from all of this?
The Spaceflight Bill and Blue Abyss together means that freediving in the UK has the potential to be world leaders in freediving training, facility provisions, research and future champions in this sport.