China Plans Manned Submersible 2013 Missions
The manned submersible 'Jiaolong' will conduct scientific trial missions between June and September 2013.
The four months of missions, which will include research in the South China Sea and the northeast Pacific Ocean, mark the start of a five-year trial period for the Jiaolong before it starts regular operation, the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research & Development Association, an agency of China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA) informed Xinhua.
The Jiaolong completed a record dive of 7,062 meters in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in June 2012, demonstrating that it has the ability to allow China to conduct deep-sea scientific research and resource exploration in 99.8 percent of the world's oceans.
However, it appears that the Jiaolong is not yet ready for regular operation, as its mother ship has yet to be built and its oceanauts and maintenance team still need training.