TOURISTS wanting to explore space could be trained at a £40million facility in Colchester.

Blue Abyss wants to build Europe’s first space environment simulation facility at Essex University.

A pool at the centre, measuring 50 metres long and 50 metres deep, would be used to help train the general public who want to travel into space.

Travellers will need to prepare for the rigours of launch and return to Earth, and the weightless “microgravity” experienced during spaceflight, just as astronauts do.

For those who will spend time in orbit, the most effective technique is ‘neutral buoyancy training’.

This involves wearing a spacesuit and performing physical tasks whilst being submerged in water, meaning the giant pool will fit the bill.

John Vickers, chief executive of Blue Abyss, said: “Blue Abyss will be able to fully serve this new and exciting market as the UK establishes itself as Europe’s leading commercial space-faring nation.

“Together with our partners, we will offer end-to-end ‘ground’ services for space tourists to safely and effectively prepare them for their once in a lifetime trip.”

Dr Simon Evetts, Space Life Scientist at Blue Abyss, said: “We plan to combine neutral buoyancy training in the pool with additional, cutting-edge technology never used in this way before. This will offer individuals the most incredible and realistic spaceflight experience before they even leave the ground. The same technique will be used to provide a valuable training tool for Government astronauts preparing for space missions.”

Blue Abyss is in the final stages of securing grants and private investment to build the facility, due to be fully operational in mid-2018.

Former NASA Astronaut, seven-time Spacewalker and Blue Abyss non-executive director, Dr. Scott Parazynski, said: “Blue Abyss is uniquely positioned to provide a pioneering, state-of-the-art facility delivering ‘space-ready’ humans for flight. Moreover, Blue Abyss will have infinite opportunities to advance new space and sub-sea technologies, helping the UK play a key role in the space and tech sectors globally.”

Professor Walter Kuehnegger, one of Nasa’s Apollo Lunar Exploration Principle Investigators, is part of the Blue Abyss team as well as a consultant and Britain’s most recent space explorer Tim Peake, European Space Agency astronaut, has previously shown his support for the project.