A facility that trains astronauts for space will soon train oil and gas workers for water safety.
On Tuesday, NASA announced that Raytheon Technical Services Co., which runs the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, or NBL, will partner with Petrofac Training Services to offer the training.
The NBL, at Johnson Space Center, outside Houston, is a facility centered on a deep pool used to train astronauts for space shuttle and International Space Station missions. The agreement makes use of the excess training capacity at the NBL since the end of the space shuttle program.
Petrofac will initially use the facility to train offshore oil and gas workers in classes on escaping from a helicopter that is underwater, basic offshore safety and offshore emergency techniques.
The NBL's pool, at 202 feet long, 102 feet wide and 40 feet deep, provides a realistic environment for underwater survival training for oil and gas workers. Training is expected to begin in December.
Astronauts training for missions to the International Space Station will also continue their training in the NBL.