Bion-M No.1

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Bion-M No. 1
Mission type Research
Operator Institute of Biomedical Problems
Russian Academy of Sciences
COSPAR ID 2013-015A[1]
SATCAT № 39130[1]
Mission duration 30 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Bion-M
Bus Hybrid Yantar/Zenit[1]
Manufacturer TsSKB Progress[2]
Launch mass 6,266 kilograms (13,814 lb)[3]
Landing mass 2,415 kilograms (5,324 lb)[3]
Start of mission
Launch date 19 April 2013, 10:00 (2013-04-19UTC10Z) UTC
Rocket Soyuz 2-1a
Launch site Baikonur 31/6[4]
Contractor Roskosmos
End of mission
Landing date 19 May 2013, 03:12 (2013-05-19UTC03:13Z) UTC
Landing site Orenberg, Russia
Orbital parameters
Reference system geocentric
Regime low
Semi-major axis 6,948 kilometres (4,317 mi)[1]
Eccentricity 0.0015[1]
Perigee 559 kilometres (347 mi)[1]
Apogee 580 kilometres (360 mi)[1]
Inclination 64.89 degrees[1]
Period 96.05 minutes[1]
Epoch 21 April 2013[1]

Bion-M No.1 (Бион-М) is a Russian space mission, the part of the Bion series of space missions.


The animal-carrying space capsule was launched into orbit on April 19, 2013, from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The Bion-M flew a 30 day mission.[2][3][5][6][7][8][9]

Return to Earth was on May 19 with a landing near Orenburg in Russia at 03:12 GMT.[10]


The satellite contains parts from two long standing Soviet spy satellite families. Bion's landing unit is from the Zenit 2M satellite and the satellite also contains the instrument section of a Yantar. It was made by TsSKB Progress of Samara.[1][2][11]

The cargo consisted of 45 mice (three per cage), 15 geckos, eight Mongolian gerbils, snails, and fish.[7][8] The animals were intended to survive the entire mission, but upon landing it was found that all gerbils, most of the 45 mice, and all of the fish were dead due to equipment failure. Fifteen of the mice died when the food dispenser in their experimental compartment stopped working. The gerbil compartment suffered a temporary loss of power, ventilation, lighting, and food supply that likely accounts for their demise. Ultimately, all of the remaining animals will be euthanized for study.[12]

It was launched with 6 small satellites - OSSI-1, Dove-2, AIST 2, BEESat 3, SOMP and BEESat 2.[1]

Organism Number sent Number survived Cause of death[13]
Mongolian gerbils (Meriones ungviculatus) 8 all died Equipment failure[13]
mice (Mus musculus) (C57black/6) 45 16 food supply failure (15), stress[13]
geckos (Chondrodactylus turneri Gray) 15 survived [13]
fish (Oreochromis mossambicus) all died Equipment failure[13]
snails (Helix pomatia Linnaeus) 20[14] survived
other, including microorganisms survived


Example of a Zenit landing vehicle

Research based on the recovered animals has revealed insights into the impact of spaceflight on cerebral arteries, the spinal cord, inner ear, and genetic processes. Deputy Director of Russia's Institute of Medical and Biological Studies Vladimir Sychev indicated that some of the results may help explain why some astronauts suffer impaired vision during spaceflight: "We used to think that in zero-gravity, fluid travelled upward and that the quality of blood improved, but it turns out that it is the other way around. The arteries of the brain come under duress and their capacity is reduced by 40 percent." The reduced bloodflow may be key to triggering orthostatic intolerance.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Christy, Robert. "2013 - Launches to Orbit and Beyond". Zarya - Soviet, Russian and International Spaceflight. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Biological space vehicle "Bion-M"". Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biomedical Problems. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Космический аппарат "Бион-М" № 1 успешно выведен на орбиту" (in Russian). Roskosmos. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  6. ^ NASA: Space Biosciences Division: Bion-M1
  7. ^ a b Russia Launches Animals Into Space on One-Month Journey
  8. ^ a b Clark, Stephen. "Russian spacecraft launched with cosmic cache of critters". Spaceflightnow. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Bergin, Chris. "Soyuz 2-1A launches numerous passengers on BION-M spacecraft". nasaspaceflight. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Christy, Robert. "Bion M1 - Return to Earth". Zarya - Soviet, Russian and International Spaceflight. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Space vehicle". Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biomedical Problems. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Pultarova, Tereza (2013). "Crew of Bion M1 Found Dead upon Landing". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Marwaha, Nikita (2013). "In Focus: Why Spaceflight is Becoming Blurrier over Time". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-20.