It included a centrifuge with revolving and fixed sections in which identical groups of animals, plants, and cells could be compared. The subject animals included white rats and tortoises. The effects of aging on fruit fly livers and plant tissues with grafted cancerous growths were also studied.
More than 20 different species were flown on the mission, including twenty-five unrestrained male Wistar rats, fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), carrot tissues, and 1,000 embryos of the fish Fundulus heteroclitus (a small shallow water minnow). A U.S. radiation dosimeter experiment was also carried out without using biological materials. This was the only Bion mission where the United States provided some of the biological specimens.
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( | ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in (brackets).