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Ice-resistant North Pole platform’s first Arctic voyage scheduled for 2022

According to AARI’s director, scientists presently work on the program of studies onboard the platform

ST. PETERSBURG, October 15. /TASS/. The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI, St. Petersburg) scheduled the first voyage of the North Pole self-propelled ice-resistant platform for 2022, the institute’s Director Alexander Makarov told TASS on Thursday.

Alexander Buzakov, Director General of the Admiralty Shipyards, where the platform is being built, said earlier the platform’s acceptance act might be signed on July 1, 2022. "I’ve been to the shipyard today, the work continues, and if everything goes fine on July 1, then the first voyage would be in 2022, he said.

According to AARI’s director, scientists presently work on the program of studies onboard the platform. When the program is ready, hopefully by end of 2021, the institute will discuss joint work on the platform with foreign scientists.

In July, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced the government would allocate more than 1 billion rubles ($13.6 million) for the North Pole’s construction and tests.

Earlier, AARI’s press service told TASS the platform would be able to come to planned destinations without icebreakers and to drift in the Arctic Ocean for up to two years, and then to return to the port without icebreakers. The platform is 83 meters long, its breadth is about 22 meters, and it is more than 11 meters high. One of the decks will have a runway for Mil Mi-8 and Mi-38 helicopters.

The ice-resistant platform will accommodate onboard 15 scientific laboratories, which cover an exhaustive range of the Arctic natural environment: ionospheric observations, geological, chemical and environmental studies, studies of ice loads and the mechanics of ice destruction, studies of acoustic tomography of the Arctic basin, studies of the planetary boundary layer and the free atmosphere, magnetic and gravitational studies, and much more.