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Bion (satellite)

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Title: Bion (satellite)  
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Subject: Biosatellite program, Kosmos 1129, Kosmos 1514, Kosmos 2044, Kosmos 936
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Bion (satellite)

A Bion spacecraft, on display
Country of origin Soviet Union
Applications Bioscience
Design life ~22 days
Regime Low Earth orbit
Status Retired
(Bion-M in service)
Launched 11
First launch Kosmos 605
31 October 1973
Last launch Bion No.11
24 December 1996
Related spacecraft
Derived from Vostok
Derivatives Bion-M

An artist's concept of a Bion satellite in orbit

The Bion satellites (Russian: Бион), also named Biocosmos, were a series of Soviet (later Russian) biosatellites. They were part of the Kosmos satellites.

Bion space program

Bion precursor flights & Bion flights

The Soviet biosatellite program began in 1966 with Kosmos 110, and resumed in 1973 with Kosmos 605. Cooperation in space ventures between the Soviet Union and the United States was initiated in 1971, with the signing of the US/Soviet Science and Applications Agreement (which included an agreement on space research cooperation). The Soviet Union first offered to fly US experiments on a Kosmos biosatellite in 1974, only a few years after the termination (in 1969) of the U.S. biosatellite program. The offer was realized in 1975 when the first joint US/Soviet research were carried out on the Kosmos 782 mission.

The Bion spacecraft were based on the Zenit reconnaissance satellite and launches began in 1973 with primary emphasis on the problems of radiation effects on human beings. Launches in the program included Kosmos 110, 605, 690, 782, plus Nauka modules flown on Zenit-2M reconnaissance satellites. 90 kg of equipment could be contained in the external Nauka module.

The Soviet/Russian Bion program provided U.S. investigators a platform for launching Fundamental Space Biology and biomedical experiments into space. The Bion program, which began in 1966, included a series of missions that flew biological experiments using primates, rodents, insects, cells, and plants on an unmanned biosatellite in near-earth orbit. NASA became involved in the program in 1975 and participated in 9 of the 11 Bion missions.[1] NASA ended its participation in the program with the Bion 11 mission launched in December 1996. The collaboration has resulted in the flight of more than 100 U.S. experiments, one-half of all U.S. Life Sciences flight experiments accomplished with non-human subjects.[1]

The missions ranged from five days (Bion 6) to around 22 days (Bion 1 and Kosmos 110).[2]


In 2005 the Bion program was resumed with three new satellites of the modified Bion-M type – the first flight was launched April 19, 2013 from [4][5] All the gerbils died due to a hardware failure, but condition of the rest of the experiments, including all geckos, was satisfactory. Half the mice died as was predicted.[6]

Launch history

Bion (satellite)
Bion program Bion no. Kosmos no. Launch Date
Rocket Launch Site
Bion precursor flight unnumbered Kosmos 110 22 February 1966, 20:09:36 Voskhod Baikonur Site 31/6
Bion flights Bion 1 Kosmos 605 31 October 1973, 18:24:59 Soyuz-U Plesetsk Site 43/3
Bion 2 Kosmos 690 22 October 1974, 18:00:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 3 Kosmos 782 25 November 1975, 17:00:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 4 Kosmos 936 03 August 1977, 14:00:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 5 Kosmos 1129 25 September 1979. 15:30:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 6 Kosmos 1514 14 December 1983, 07:00:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 7 Kosmos 1667 10 July 1985, 03:15:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 8 Kosmos 1887 29 September 1987, 12:50:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 9 Kosmos 2044 15 September 1989, 06:30:00 Soyuz Plesetsk
Bion 10 Kosmos 2229 29 December 1992, 13:30:00 Soyuz-U Plesetsk
Bion 11 unnumbered 24 December 1996, 13:50:00 Soyuz-U Plesetsk
Bion-M flights Bion-M No.1 unnumbered 19 April 2013, 10:00:00 Soyuz 2-1a Baikonur Site 31/6

See also


  1. ^ a b "Past Programs: Bion Biosatellite Program". NASA. Archived from the original on 2007-08-02. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bion". Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Проведение исследований в области космической биологии в условиях микрогравитации на космическом аппарате "Бион-М" №1". Retrieved 2 September 2012. Research in the field of space biology in microgravity on the spacecraft "Bion-M" № 1 (Google translation) 
  4. ^ Bion M News (Russian)
  5. ^ Russia retrieves mice, newts from space
  6. ^ Gerbils, half of mice die during satellite flight - experiment chief

External links

  • Zenit Satellites - Bion Variant
  • Astronautix, Bion
  • TsSKB, Bion images (Russian)
  • RW Ballard, and JP Connolly. U.S./U.S.S.R. joint research in space biology and medicine on Kosmos biosatellites. FASEB J. 4: 5-9.[1] (Overview of Bion 1 to 9)
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