China acquires deep-diving technology

August 27th, 2010 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 27 (IANS) A homemade submersible has reached a depth of 3,759 metres, making China the fifth country to acquire deep-diving technology, a media report said Friday.
The Jiaolong, which is 8.2 metres long and weighs nearly 22 tonnes, was designed to reach a depth of 7,000 metrse and operate in most of the world’s oceans, China Daily reported.

Japan’s Shinkai 6500 has a diving capability of 6,500 metres. Three other countries with deep-diving technology are the US, France and Russia.

A submersible differs from a submarine as it typically depends on another vessel or facility for support.

Jiaolong, with a crew of three, dived 17 times from May 31 to July 18 in South China Sea, going below 3,000 metres four times. The deepest it reached was 3,759 metres.

It operated at a peak duration of nine hours and three minutes and sent back videos and photos of the seabed, as part of an experiment.

It also placed the Chinese flag and a sign depicting the legendary dragon’s palace onto the seabed with a robotic arm.

“The successful diving trials of Jiaolong marked a milestone in our country’s deepwater equipment and technology development,” said Wang Weizhong, vice-minister of science and technology.

China started to develop the submersible in 2002. About 100 institutions and companies participated in the project.

“We did pressure tests that simulated the environment at 7,000 metres underwater. That depth is our target. We will keep on trying deeper depths and finally reach the 7,000-metre goal,” said Liu Feng, chief director of diving trials.

Jiaolong’s main missions include physical, chemical and biological research, as well as exploration and deep-sea salvage, officials said.

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