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. 90kg 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 precursor flights 
- Kosmos 110, 1966
Bion flights 
- Bion 1, Kosmos 605, 1973
- Bion 2, Kosmos 690, 1974
- Bion 3, Kosmos 782, 1975
- Bion 4, Kosmos 936, 1977
- Bion 5, Kosmos 1129, 1979
- Bion 6, Kosmos 1514, 1983
- Bion 7, Kosmos 1667, 1985
- Bion 8, Kosmos 1887, 1987
- Bion 9, Kosmos 2044, 1989
- Bion 10, Kosmos 2229, 1992
- Bion 11, 1996.
Bion-M flights 
- Bion-M1, 2013
See also 
- "Past Programs: Bion Biosatellite Program". NASA. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Bion". 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)"
- http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=19971 Bion M News (Russian)
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/russia-retrieves-mice-newts-from-space/story-fn3dxix6-1226646257141 Russia retrieves mice, newts from space
- http://rbth.ru/news/2013/05/19/gerbils_half_of_mice_die_during_satellite_flight_-_experiment_chief_26114.html 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)