What’s set to become the world’s deepest pool is about to start construction in Cornwall – for £150million. The pool, called Blue Abyss and built by a British company of the same name, will measure 164 feet down – about half the size of Elizabeth Tower in Westminster. It will hold more than 42,000 cubic metres of water – equivalent to 17 Olympic size swimming pools or 168 million cups of tea – making it the largest and deepest indoor pool in the world. But it won’t be open to the public for a swim – it’ll be a research, test and training centre serving the offshore energy, marine, defence and space sectors. The pool is yet to be constructed, but a site has been chosen, adjacent to Cornwall Airport Newquay. But it won’t be open to the public for a swim — it’ll be a research, test and training centre serving the offshore energy, marine, defence and space sectors Construction will start once planning permission goes through and is set to be completed after 18 months, in the second quarter of 2023, according to Blue Abyss. The pool is expected to create 160 jobs, pump £50million of build costs into Cornwall during its construction and generate £8million annually for the local economy. The project has the support of legendary British astronaut Tim Peake, who became Britain’s first official astronaut in December 2015 when he spent six months on board the International Space Station. ‘I am proud to be part of the Blue Abyss team and I am delighted to see the project take such an important step forward with today’s announcement,’ Major Peake said. ‘Cornwall is the perfect home for Blue Abyss, a region with great potential for its space, aerospace and renewable energy ambitions.’ The pool will act as the world’s first commercial astronaut training centre. Astronauts train underwater because it simulates weightlessness in space. Being underwater provides ‘neutral buoyancy’ – an equal tendency to float as it does sink, which practically provides the same situation as being truly weightless. The pool will also benefit research projects in other markets, including offshore energy, maritime defence, ocean ecology, human life sciences and commercial diving, and will help in the development of remotely operated subsea robots and mini submersibles. It could even be hired out by filmmakers who are shooting scenes underwater, bringing famous TV and film stars to Cornwall. Blue Abyss will be situated at the Aerohub Enterprise Zone – a cluster of buildings for businesses dedicated to the aerospace industry. The firm is in negotiation with Cornwall Council to acquire four adjacent plots on the Aerohub Business Park, which is next to Cornwall Airport Newquay. The 10-acre site would house the pool, an astronaut training centre, altitude and oxygen chambers, a ‘microgravity suite’, a training centre with classrooms, workshops, onsite catering and accommodation. Lifelike concept images released by the firm shows the pool will be housed within a curious tear-drop-shaped building, which has been designed by British architect Robin Partington. Partington led the design team for The Gherkin in Central London. As well as measuring 164 feet down, the pool will be 130 by 164 feet on the surface, but with a narrower shaft at the very bottom – around 52 feet wide. As a comparison, NASA’s astronaut training pool, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is only 40 feet. Currently, the world record for the deepest pool is held by Deepspot in Mszczonów, Poland, which has a depth of 148 feet and only opened in November last year. DeepSpot is 16 feet deeper than the present record holder – Y-40 Deep Joy in the northern Italian town of Montegrotto Terme.