The world’s biggest and deepest pool for testing the latest underwater technology, helping advanced subsea robotics and even training astronauts is being planned at Cornwall Airport Newquay as it continues to see growth in the space related sector.

Blue Abyss, a £150m facility, will be the world’s leading extreme environment research, test and training centre serving the offshore energy, marine, defence and space sectors.

The project could create 160 jobs, pumping £50m of build costs into the Cornwall economy and generate £8m annually for the local economy.

The centrepiece of the Blue Abyss facility is a 50m by 40m stepped pool with a 50m deep shaft – holding 42,000 cubic metres of water the equivalent to 17 Olympic size swimming pools.

British astronaut Major Tim Peake, who sits on the Advisory Board, said: “I’m proud to be part of the Blue Abyss team and I’m delighted to see the project take such an important step forward. Cornwall is the perfect home for this project, a region with great potential for its space, aerospace and renewable energy ambitions.”

John Vickers, Chief Executive of Blue Abyss, said: “We’re planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses that tap into so many of the industries that Cornwall and the South West are known for.

“Blue Abyss will be a huge research asset for aerospace, offshore energy, underwater robotics, human physiology, defence, leisure and marine industries, and a fantastic education centre for children and university students. Cornwall already feels like our natural home and we’re delighted to have received such a warm response.”

Blue Abyss is now in negotiations with Cornwall Council to acquire four adjacent plots totalling 10-acres on the Aerohub Business Park.

Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Blue Abyss has the potential to become an iconic project for Cornwall and a genuine world-class resource. It fits perfectly with our local industrial strategy to create quality jobs in growth industries like offshore renewable energy and space, and would be an educational and research boost for the whole of the UK at a time when we need to develop new skills for our economy and invest in home-grown research and technology.”