A Bion spacecraft, on display
|Country of origin||Soviet Union
|Design life||~22 days|
|Orbit regimes||Low Earth orbit|
(Bion-M in service)
|First launch||Kosmos 605
31 October 1973
|Last launch||Bion No.11
24 December 1996
An artist's concept of a Bion satellite in orbit
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. 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.
The missions ranged from five days (Bion 6) to around 22 days (Bion 1 and Kosmos 110).
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 Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The first satellite of the new series Bion-M1 featured an aquarium by the DLR and carried 45 mice, 8 Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos, snails, fish and micro-organisms into orbit for 30 days before re-entry and recovery. 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.
|Bion program||Bion no.||Kosmos no.||Launch Date
|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|
- "Past Programs: Bion Biosatellite Program". NASA. Archived from the original on 2007-08-02. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Bion". Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Проведение исследований в области космической биологии в условиях микрогравитации на космическом аппарате "Бион-М" №1". Roscosmos.ru. Retrieved 2 September 2012. "Research in the field of space biology in microgravity on the spacecraft "Bion-M" № 1 (Google translation)"
- Bion M News (Russian)
- Russia retrieves mice, newts from space
- Gerbils, half of mice die during satellite flight - experiment chief
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bion program.|
- 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. (Overview of Bion 1 to 9)