Foton-M is series of robotic spacecraft used by Russia and the European Space Agency for research conducted in the microgravity environment of Earth orbit. The Foton-M design is based on the design of the Foton, with several improvements including a new telemetry and telecommand unit for increased data flow rate, increased battery capacity, and a better thermal control system. It is produced by TsSKB-Progress in Samara.
The first launch, of Foton-M1, failed because of a malfunction of the Soyuz-U launcher. The second launch, of Foton-M2, was, however, a success. Foton-M3 was launched on 14 September 2007 carried by a Soyuz-U rocket lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It returned successfully to Earth on September 26, 2007, landing in Kazakhstan at 7:58 GMT