Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Patch
Item #: MPNBL
Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Patch The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), located at the Sonny Carter Training Facility in Houston, Texas, is NASA's premier facility for training spacewalk astronauts. In this facility, the neutral buoyancy of water is used to simulate the weightlessness of space. First, a suited astronaut in the NBL is not truly weightless; while it is true the suit/astronaut combination is neutrally buoyant, the astronauts feel their weight while in the suit (they are lying or standing in the suit depending on its orientation; that is one reason why suit fit is so critical). Second, water drag acts to hinder motion; this makes some things easier to do in the NBL than on orbit and some things more difficult. Both effects are unlike the conditions of space and must be recognized during EVA training. However, even with these limitations, neutral buoyancy is currently the best available method for EVA training.