Russian Hydro Lab

EVA block 1In 1980, Yu. Gagarin  Russian cosmonaut training base personnel began using its Hydro Lab (similar to NBL – Neutral Buoyancy Lab located in Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas). It is a huge unique and complicated facility with its special hydro systems and mechanisms, other words - it's Russian Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.

The main purpose of the Russian Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is to train crew members in a simulated zero-g environment, as well as fulfilling the following tasks:
a. crew members preparation for EVA tasks (extravehicular activities);
b. scientific researches;
c. test flight equipment.

A cylinder-type vessel with a round-flat can-move-vertically platform is centered in the middle of the facility. Service rooms and sections, technological systems, training equipment are parts of this facility. Exterior surface of the cylinder-type vessel holds 45 windows which can be used to watch crew under-water activities.

The vessel with its 23-meter diameter and 12-meter depth occupies 5000m3 of 30C (86F) water.

The round-flat platform holds real-dimension Russian Segment of International Space Station mock-ups. The Russian segment of International Space Station mock-ups can easily be removed or added to the platform according to the training tasks and requirements.

An arm-crane is used for “smooth jump” of a crew member wearing an “Orlan-M” Russian EVA space suit into the water. Several scuba-divers assist each crew member during their 5-hour Hydro Lab run.


Russian crew members training in Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory include the following tasks and operations:
  1. hatches opening and go into space;
  2. crew operations in depressurized modules;
  3. maintenance of modules’ exteriors;
  4. installation/removing of equipment on exterior parts of RS ISS;
  5. payloads transportation;
  6. research works.


Besides functions metnioned above, helicopter lift trainings are perfomed in this facility. NASA/USOS (United States Orbital Segment)/Russian astronauts and cosmonauts are trained on how to behave in the water during splashdown and be able to hook themselves to the rope and get onboard the rescue helo.


Interested in taking “Orlan-M” Russian EVA space suit Hydro Lab water training? Come and try it. Not for free. Price is high. You will survive. Experience is unforgettable.