NASA has announced a deal to share space in its Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory — a massive swimming pool in Houston that offers astronauts a simulated low-gravity environment for training — to an oil company, the Houston Chronicle reported Nov. 15.
Petrofac Training Services, a global oil firm with an office in Houston, says it will use the 60-meter-long, 12-meter-deep pool to provide offshore survival training for employees. NASA used the pool to train astronauts to build the international space station, and it held mockups of both the station and the space shuttle. The agency still uses the pool but at about 60 percent of the level it did during construction of the station, Paul Hill, director of mission operations, said.
Under the deal struck between Petrofac and Raytheon Technical Services Co., which operates the pool, NASA will receive about $1 million over five years.