Ice-resistant Arctic platform’s maiden voyage set for 2022
The North Pole self-propelled ice-resistant platform for round-the-year comprehensive scientific research in high latitudes is to set out on its maiden voyage next year. Researchers are to receive the platform in March 2022.
“In January 2021, the platform was 67.3 percent complete, and this exceeded the 67 percent target. Initial factory trial runs are scheduled for December 2021. <…> The platform is to be transferred in March 2022, and the maiden voyage is also set for next year,” said Alexei Chernov, a senior research associate with the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg, at a concluding session of the Institute’s Academic Council. Two-thirds of the platform is now complete, he noted. Researchers are now drafting a scientific program for the ice-resistant platform’s maiden voyage, and the itinerary of its mooring tests and trial runs is also being compiled.
The Institute’s team expects the platform to be completed by 2022, AARI Director Alexander Makarov told session participants.
“We are somewhat behind schedule, facing delays and a shortage of money. There are major difficulties, but I hope that we will overcome them, and that construction work will continue,” he said.
It is necessary to start drafting the scientific program before the platform is ready, and this will be coordinated with the Institute’s Russian and foreign partners.
The 83-meter platform can accommodate 33 researchers and 13 crew members and can drift for up to 24 months unassisted. This will make it possible to conduct long-term experiments in the Arctic, to process data aboard the platform and to transmit it to the mainland. Researchers will be able to conduct comprehensive research projects and study the Arctic climate, snow-drifts and sea-ice formations, biodiversity, the local atmosphere, ecology and other aspects as well.