Bion-M No1 Was Launched

19 april 2013

April 19, 2013 2pm Moscow time from Baikonur Cosmodrome Soyuz-2.1a successfully launched Bion-M No1 research spacecraft.

The only one of its kind this spacecraft for medical and biological research was designed and built by TsSkb-Progress Samara Space Center in the frames of 2006-2015 Federal Space Program.

Bion-M No1 spacecraft is equipped with research hardware for a wide range of biomedical, gravitational - biological, biotechnological, radio-physical and radio-biological experiments.

Bion-M No1 spacecraft built basing on the engineering know-how accumulated during design and operation of the previous Bion spacecraft, possesses improved characteristics and stet-of-the-art hardware which allows significant increasing of the range of experiments.

In particular, power – supply system built on the basis of the solar power -generating installation and availability of the life support system allows increasing consumable power and prolonging Bion-M orbital life up to 45 days. Combined propulsion system makes it possible for the spacecraft using its own means to maintain higher orbits (575km), maneuver, adjust orbit and prepare landing of the descent module with experimental results on the specified area.

Experiments are performed not only orbital flight of the spacecraft but also during the most critical phases – launch and landing.

45 mice, 8 clawed girds, 15 geckoes and snails, 40 containers with microorganisms and higher plants being objects-under-test on Bion-M No1 will be exposed to influence of space flight.

Bion-M No 1 biological satellite will be orbiting 30 days. More than 70 experiments prepared by Russian scientists jointly with specialists from Ukraine, USA, France, Italy, Germany, Republic of Korea will be performed during this period.

In-flight data from Bion-M No1 research hardware will be effectively downloaded via telemetry system. On completion of a month-long mission the descent module with all the research hardware and living organisms – microbes, tissue cultures, inferior and higher plants, insects and animals – will be landed with the soft-landing system.

AIST small multifunction satellite designed by TsSKB-Progress with Samara Aerospace University and five foreign microsatellites of Cubesat standard were launched together with Bion-M No1 as piggyback payload.

AIST small satellite is designed to solve educational, scientific, experimental problems. It is equipped with the Earth antenna, photo-receivers for conversion of solar power into electrical power, satellite control equipment, hardware to study particles of space debris and navigational system. Design orbital life of the satellite is up to three years.

AIST satellite will be separated from Bion-M No1 when the latter is on its operational orbit (575km) during the third day of flight.

Other institutes of higher education has also contributed to solving of problems regarding human long-term space flights and exposure to extreme conditions.

Thus, Bion-M No1 houses an instrument designed by scientists of Samara State Aerospace University named after S.P.KOROLEV, for Samara State Medical University. This BIOIMPEDANCE instrument allows acquiring new scientific data on status of living cells under space-flight conditions by monitoring of bio - impedance characteristics of a biocytoculture sample. Throughout the whole flight more than 500 thousand cells of bone and cartilaginous tissue prepared by Institute of Experimental Medicine and Biotechnology, will be on a specially-designed carrier in containers filled with solution. Transmitted sensor readouts about status of the cells will allow determining effects of microgravity and other factors influencing the cells during space flight. In the judgment of specialists this experiment will allow progress in solving locomotor apparatus problem which astronauts usually face and to take the path of lost or damaged tissues restoration technology.

The FITO experiment was prepared by department of pharmacognosy, botany and herbal therapy at Samara State Medical University with support of TsSKB-Progress. For the first time within the frames of this experiment drug plants - seeds of Saint-Mary-thistle, garden balm and magnolia-vine - were placed into orbit. This experiment allows studying of microgravity influence on chemical composition and physiological state of plants’ seeds.

The GRAVITON instrument designed and built in the SSAU laboratory is meant for online analysis of microgravity conditions aboard spacecraft.

Within the frame of the KARBON experiment, scientists from Samara State University will study combined influence of outer space factors on rigidity of carborundum structures and carborundum-based sensing elements.


Development of Bion-type spacecraft started in the early 70s at the Kuibushev Branch of OKB-1, now TsSKB-Progress. Bion maiden flight was in 1973. From 1973 to 1996 11 Bion spacecraft were launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome.

Up to 40 biological test objects were used in the program – reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects, worms, eggs of amphibians and birds, biocytocultures of mammals, higher and lower plants, biocytocultures of plant cells and tissues, microbes, mammals – laboratory albino rats (Bion No 1-5), monkeys (Bion No 6-11).

Duration of flights was from 5 to 22,5 days. Research data became a considerable contribution to fundamental statement of space biology and medicine: feasibility of many-monthed stay of a human in space keeping health during and after flight.