NASA is Renting Out Their Neutral Buoyancy Lab to Businesses

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Tony Maples Photography


NASA says their Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston contains “one of the largest indoor bodies of water in the world.” The lab is run by 120 people and it’s staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The amount of funding that’s needed to keep a lab of this caliber afloat is considerable, so NASA rents out the NBL to businesses.

The indoor pool is 202′ x 101′ and 40′ deep. It’s kept around 85 degrees, and to ensure cleanliness, it can be completely drained, filtered and refilled in only 19 hours. There are two cranes over the pool which can hold 20 tons and several other devices around the pool that can hold up to 1.6 tons. The access to state of the art equipment, an intelligent team, the pool and a nearby airport (Ellington Field) attracts businesses to take NASA up on their offer.

KHOU reports that big businesses have made good use of the space. “Instead of spending $100,000 on emergency underwater training in the Gulf of Mexico, some pay about $25,000 to do it in the lab. Engineers there build anything clients need. Some groups even bring underwater vehicles,” they write.

In the video below, one can see how NASA uses the facility to train astronauts to complete space walks and fix equipment without gravity and while wearing bulky spacesuits.