The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is housed inside the Sonny Carter Training Facility. The NBL is 202 feet long, 102 feet wide, 40 feet deep (20 above ground level, 20 below) and holds 6.2 million gallons of water which is recycled every 19.6 hours.
A medical team is present at all times, to monitor the condition of all dive personnel – both astronauts and their accompanying support SCUBA divers. Also, hyperbaric chamber is available should emergency decompression sickness treatment be necessary.
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Pool water is automatically monitored and controlled to a temperature of 82-88 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize the potential effects of hypothermia on support divers.
It is also chemically treated to control contaminant growth while minimizing long-term corrosion effect on training mockups and equipment.
The flight spacesuits used by astronaut trainees in the NBL are self-contained and do not require umbilicals.
The facility is also used for bailout simulations, water survival training, lifeguard training, and simulations of parachute drops using the crane system (and wind drag simulated by a winch pull).
Divers breathe NITROX (oxygen-enriched gas) during all underwater operations. The facility has 250+ tank sets, all of which can be charged in less than four hours. The onsite ISO level 8 Cleanroom supports SCUBA gear maintenance and repair.
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