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    Foton-M bio-satellite successfully lands in northern Kazakhstan

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    The re-entry module of the Foton-M bio-satellite successfully landed at 11.58 a.m. Moscow time Wednesday (7.58 a.m. GMT) RIA Novosti reported.

    MISSION CONTROL CENTER, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - The re-entry module of the Foton-M bio-satellite successfully landed at 11.58 a.m. Moscow time Wednesday (7.58 a.m. GMT) RIA Novosti reported.

    The bio-satellite was launched September 14 on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

    Nothing is known yet about the creatures, including gerbils, snails, cockroaches and butterflies, onboard. Scientists say that some of them might have been killed during the landing, although the majority of creatures aboard bio-satellites have tended to survive earlier trips into space.

    The re-entry module landed 170 km (105 miles) away from the town of Kostanai in northern Kazakhstan.

    The 12-day satellite mission was a success and all the scheduled experiments were carried out, the flight director, Nikolai Sokolov, said.

    The scientific program included experiments ordered by Roscosmos (the Russian Federal Space Agency), NASA, the European Space Agency, and a number of universities from five countries.

    The first unmanned Foton-type spacecraft was introduced in 1985 by the Soviet Union and was based on the famous Vostok spacecraft which carried the world's first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit in 1961.

    The September 14-26 flight was part of an ongoing experiment into the effects of space flight by the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP). The creatures were sealed in special containers, and a video camera filmed them during the flight, a Moscow-based IBMP spokesman said earlier.

    The Foton launch went ahead despite the September 6 crash of a Proton-M rocket which came down shortly after lift off from Baikonur.

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