How do astronauts prepare for spacewalking in zero gravity? They practice in a giant pool, called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, or NBL.
Located at NASA’s Sonny Carter Training Facility near Johnson Space Center (JSC), the NBL serves as the perfect training center for astronauts as they prepare for their spaceflight missions. Although astronauts do not achieve true weightlessness in the NBL, the simulations do provide each crew member with a solid spacewalking foundation which better prepares them for the extravehicular activities (EVAs) they will conduct in zero gravity.
The NBL isn’t your average pool. It measures 202 ft. long, 102 ft. wide, and 40 ft. deep, holding approximately 6.2 million gallons of water! It’s also split into two sections so that simultaneous training sessions can occur.
In today’s photo gallery, scroll through some of our favorite images of the NBL!