Xiangyanghong 10 was China's first Antarctic exploration vessel. Built by China primarily for general oceanic investigation, it was used for only one expedition -- to build the Great Wall Station -- because it was not constructed to sail in Antarctic conditions. It is now called Yuanwang 4 and is used to receive satellite signals.
China purchased its first ice going vessel, Jidi, from Finland. A supply, transport vessel it could navigate a field of floating ice but was not an icebreaker. Jidi was decommissioned after six years in service.
Xuelong (Snow Dragon) is China's first icebreaker and was built in Ukraine in 1993. China spent 31 million yuan (US$3.7 million) to convert it into a transport ship for Antarctic expeditions. It replaced Jidi in 1994 and has remained in service ever since.
Xuelong is the re-supply vessel and the scientific research platform of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic research expeditions. It is well equipped with all the advanced systems of self-contained navigation and weather observation which is essential in polar voyages and research expeditions.
There are a data processing center, seven laboratories with a total area of 200 square meters and basic operating equipment on board the vessel. It is also provided with three operating boats and a helicopter for transportation and research purposes in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
The vessel's dimensions are:
cruising radius 12000 NM
speed 17.9 knots
(china.org.cn May 19, 2006)