NBL Facilities

NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) is home to a massive, 6.2 million-gallon training pool and related testing technologies, providing full oversight in a controlled, secure environment.

Skybox-style control rooms overlook the pool to provide direct and indirect monitoring, communications, data connectivity, and control capabilities. A closed-circuit video system provides high-definition video and still photography of subsurface and surface locations. Real-time, password-protected streaming is also available.

The NBL supports various testing and training activities, including
remotely operated vehicle (ROV) testing, and VideoRay and astronaut training.

ROV Testing

ROV testing at the NBL provides an opportunity to test concepts and technologies early in their life cycle where technical, operational, and programmatic risk can be reduced at a low cost to the developer. The earlier risks are identified and retired, the greater the opportunity for success.

The NBL’s permanently-installed, work class Millennium® ROV is used to analyze and prepare operational and test situations prior to open-water deployment. The ROV is used to test operational scenarios for existing and emerging subsea tools and equipment. Individual components or systems can be fully tested, and, in some cases, certified in the NBL for integration with an ROV during operational, stand-alone testing, or as part of a full system integration test (SIT).


In addition to live testing, we can design and fabricate subsurface mock-ups at our light manufacturing facility to produce operationally functional models. Using these models, we can simulate the anticipated conditions and near operational configuration to verify concepts, develop tools and procedures, and troubleshoot obstacles.

OSS VideoRay Training

VideoRay Training

The NBL hosts a two-day training program for ROV piloting training and certification through VideoRay—an industry leader in small, underwater ROVs.

Astronaut Training

Providing a safe environment that enables astronauts to train, execute project activities pre-space flight, and interact with a mock International Space Station set-up.

Available Services and Equipment

  • Onsite hyperbaric chambers
  • Facility-level uninterruptable power supply, compressed air, and chilled water
  • Two 20.5-ton overhead cranes
  • Four 1.6-ton jib cranes
  • Two Davit cranes
  • Lifting equipment (tow tug, Lift-A-Loft, scissor jack, and forklifts)
  • High-bay–accessible outdoor secured storage and staging areas
  • Conference and meeting rooms
  • Fully secured 24/7, ensuring guard-gate–controlled access to the grounds and badge-controlled access within the facility
  • Additional security options for proprietary projects

Facility Specifications

Pool: 40.5 ft deep × 202 ft long × 102 ft wide
High bay: 80 ft tall, 72,000 ft²

High-Definition Animations

We use state-of-the-art video equipment and software to produce animations and visualizations that accurately show proposed operations. By clearly visualizing objectives and operational scenario animations, we enable sharing and review of concepts and plans before committing to the development of actual hardware and procedures.

Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory | 13000 Space Center Blvd. | Houston, TX | 77059
Contact Us | NBL Facilities

Company page Since our founding in the early 1960s, Oceaneering has expanded and grown globally to service several industries such as the offshore energy industry, defense, entertainment, material handling, aerospace, science, and renewable energy industries. In 1964, Mike Hughes and Johnny Johnson formed a Gulf of Mexico diving company called World Wide Divers. The company grew in response to increasing demand for their services and in 1969 merged with two other diving companies to form Oceaneering International, Inc. To solve the toughest challenges, we do things differently, creatively, and smarter. As your trusted partner, our unmatched experience and truly innovative portfolio of technologies and solutions give us the flexibility to adapt and evolve, regardless of market conditions. Our mission is to solve the unsolvable. We thrive by creating industry-changing technically creative solutions for the most complex operational challenges under water, on land, and in space. Our five core values establish a common culture and demonstrate what is most important for us as a company. Since the beginning, the company has transformed from a small regional diving company into a global provider of engineered products and services. Today, we develop products and services for use throughout the lifecycle of an offshore oilfield, from drilling to decommissioning. We operate the world's premier fleet of work class ROVs. Additionally, we are a leader in offshore oilfield maintenance services, umbilicals, subsea hardware, and tooling. We also serve the aerospace, defense, and theme park industries. Underpinning everything we do, safety is not only the foundation of our core values, but it is vital to our unmatched performance record and company culture. The industries we serve are as diverse as they are complex. Whether we are engineering deepwater umbilicals or developing robotics for aerospace applications, the safety and health of our employees, vendors, and customers is an integral part of our day-to-day business. If we are working, then our responsibility is to be working safely. Since our inception in 1964, we have placed a high value on employee safety—from diving services and subsea inspection to vessel-based installation operations. We have and will continue to evolve not only our health, safety, and environmental (HSE) processes, but those of the industries in which we work. Although we have been fatality-free since 1999, our HSE journey goes beyond statistics. As our portfolio of services has grown, we have continued to prioritize and advance our approach to HSE.