Largest enclosed diving tanks
Last updated: January 5, 2018 at 0:17 am
The Johnson Space Center’s Sonny Carter Training Facility Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is 12.2 m (40 ft) deep, 31.1 m (102 ft) wide, 61.6 m (202 ft) long, and it contains 23,469,553 litres (6.2 million gallons) of chlorinated fresh water. The pool floor is built from concrete 1.83 m (6 ft) thick; the floor and walls include more than 1,300 tons of reinforcing steel, including 513.38 km (319 miles) of steel tie wire; and a total of almost 7,000 tons of concrete were used in construction. The pool extends 6.1 m (20 ft) below ground and 6.1 m (20 ft) above, and a 2,601 sq. m (28,000 sq. ft) pool deck was built to house training offices, control rooms and mechanical equipment. The pool is used by astronauts to train for spacewalks.
“The Sonny Carter Training Facility provides controlled neutral buoyancy operations in the facility water tank to simulate the zero-g or weightless condition which is experienced by the spacecraft and crew during space flight. It is an essential tool for the design, testing and development of the space station and future NASA programs. For the astronaut, the facility provides important pre-flight training in becoming familiar with planned crew activities and with the dynamics of body motion under weightless conditions.”¹
In 1980, the Soviet Union constructed a pool large enough to contain a full-size 20-ton space station module. The pool is still used today to train Russian cosmonauts. It has a depth of 12 m (39.37 ft), a diameter of 23 m (75.46 ft) and a volume of 5,000 cu. m (176,573.33 cu. ft). The Cosmonaut Training Center known as Star City is located 40 km (25 miles) from Moscow.
¹ NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.