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ABOARD XIANGYANGHONG 09 - China's manned deep-sea submersible Jiaolong and three divers inside are rising from over 6,000 meters below the sea in the Mariana Trench after setting the country's dive record on Friday.
China's manned deep-sea submersible, Jiaolong, is unmoored from its mother ship before making its first dive in the Mariana Trench, as part of a bid to go to depths of up to 7,000 meters, June 15, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]
The dive, which began at 9 am local time Friday (2300 GMT Thursday), is the first of a series of six scheduled ones.
The dive went smoothly and cost about 3 hours for the Jiaolong to reach the depth of 6,000 meters at 12 pm local time (0200GMT), which far surpassed the 5,188-meter record it made last July.
The three divers Ye Cong, Cui Weicheng and Yangbo inside the vessel wished China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft launch a success from 6,055 meters below the sea.
The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft Thursday completed its final full-system drill before its planned launch in mid-June.
The Jiaolong threw ballast iron and began to rise at 12:44 pm local time (0244 GMT).
So far, the three drivers and the Jiaolong itself have been OK.
There was something wrong with the submersible's No 1 communication system, but the No 2 set is working soundly to guarantee the connection between the vessel and Xiangyanghong 09, its mother ship.
The rise is expected to last three hours and the on-scene dive headquarter will timely release the diving information.
The Jiaolong, depending on local weather and sea conditions, will try another five dives, deeper and deeper, in the coming days. The fifth and sixth are scheduled to challenge the depth of 7,000 meters.
The six dives, each of which may last eight to 12 hours, will test various functions and performances of the manned submersible at great depths.
Experts say, for safety, sea dives can only be conducted in daylight under no-more-than-four-class wind and no-more-than-three-class wave.
The Xiangyanghong 09 ship reached the designated dive zone in Mariana Trench on Monday morning.
China's manned deep-sea submersible, Jiaolong, is hung up before making its first dive in the Mariana Trench, as part of a bid to go to depths of up to 7,000 meters, June 15, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]