BEIJING – A Chinese manned submersible successfully reached a depth of 5,038.5 meters during a test dive conducted Tuesday in the Pacific Ocean, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said.
The test dive started at 3:38 am Tuesday, with the submersible Jiaolong carrying three people to the depth of 5,038.5 meters in an international area of the ocean and was of course televised live on China televsions.
Such a depth means Jiaolong could reach over 70 percent of the seabed in the world, said the SOA. It is the deepest craft so far in the world.
The SOA said the submersible is expected to have a 7,000-meter test dive in 2012.
The Jiaolong is the world’s first manned submersible designed to reach the depth of 7,000 meters below sea level, according to Xu Qinan, chief designer of the submersible. Now China holds the record for the deepest craft as they also have the fastest train in the world too.
Xu said Jiaolong’s equipment was state of art and its digital underwater communication systems and undersea mobility systems allowed the craft to “move back and forth easily under the sea.”
The home-manufactured Jiaolong, named after a mythical sea dragon, dived to a depth of 4,027 meters with three people aboard in about five hours on Thursday. But its attempt to reach 5,000 meters in another dive on Friday was postponed due to unfavorable sea conditions.
The craft completed 17 dives in the South China Sea from May 31 to July 18 last year, with the deepest reaching 3,759 meters with three crew members on board.
China, initiating the Jiaolong project in 2002, is the fifth country to send a man 3,500 meters below sea level, following the United States, France, Russia and Japan.