Bion-M No. 1
Bion-M No.1 satellite
Mission typeBiological research
OperatorInstitute of Biomedical Problems
Russian Academy of Sciences
COSPAR ID2013-015A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.39130
Mission duration30 days (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftBion-M No.1
Spacecraft typeBion-M
BusZenit (bus)
Yantar (propulsion) [1]
ManufacturerTsSKB Progress
Launch mass6,266 kg (13,814 lb)
Landing mass2,415 kg (5,324 lb)
Power450 watts
Start of mission
Launch date19 April 2013, 10:00:00 UTC
RocketSoyuz 2-1a
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 31/6
ContractorProgress Rocket Space Centre
End of mission
Recovered byRussian Space Forces
Landing date19 May 2013, 03:12 UTC
Landing site51°53′N 54°20′E / 51.883°N 54.333°E / 51.883; 54.333 (Bion-M No.1 spashdown)
Orenburg, Russia
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude471 km (293 mi)
Apogee altitude579 km (360 mi)
Period90.0 minutes
Revolution no.444

Bion-M No.1 (Бион-М) was a Russian space mission, part of the Bion-M programme focused on space medicine. The new generation Bion-M continued the Soviet/Russian Bion satellite programme aimed at biological research in space. The last spacecraft of the Bion series, Bion 11, was launched in 1996. The Bion-M1 spacecraft was designed to carry biological, physiological and biotechnological experiments to low Earth orbit and return them to Earth at the end of the mission. The biological payload for Bion-M1 included rodents, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, insects, bacteria, plant and animal cell cultures. The spacecraft was the result of collaboration hosting biomedical payloads provided by scientific institutions from the United States, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland and other countries. The Bion-M automated spacecraft was a unique specialized space complex that aimed to determine the fundamental mechanisms of how life adapts to microgravity and then readapts to Earth-normal gravity.[2]

Launch and return

The animal-carrying space capsule was launched into orbit on 19 April 2013, from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The Bion-M flew a 30-day mission.[3][4][5][6][7][8] [9] The satellite was launched in a ride-share along with 6 small satellites - OSSI-1, Dove-2, AIST 2, BEESat 3, SOMP and BEESat 2.[1]

Return to Earth was on 19 May 2013 with a landing near Orenburg in Russia at 03:12 UTC.[10]

Satellite description

The satellite had components from two long-standing Soviet spy satellite families. Bion's landing unit was from the Zenit 2M satellite and the satellite also carried an instrument section developed for the Yantar satellite. The satellite was made by TsSKB Progress of Samara, Russia.[1][3][11]

The cargo consisted of 45 mice (three per cage), 15 geckos, eight Mongolian gerbils, snails, and fish.[7][8] The animals were intended to survive the entire mission, but upon landing it was found that all gerbils, most of the 45 mice, and all of the fish were dead due to equipment failure. Fifteen of the mice died when the food dispenser in their experimental compartment stopped working. The gerbil compartment suffered a temporary loss of power, ventilation, lighting, and food supply that likely accounts for their demise. Ultimately, all of the remaining animals were euthanized for study.[12] The Bion-M No.1 mission was managed by Roscosmos, but scientists from the United States, Germany, Canada, Poland, the Netherlands and other countries also participated in the experiments.[13]

Organism Number sent Number survived Cause of death [14]
Mongolian gerbils (Meriones ungviculatus) 8 all died Equipment failure [14]
mice (Mus musculus) (C57black/6) 45 16 food supply failure (15), stress [14]
geckos (Chondrodactylus turneri Gray) 15 survived [14]
fish (Oreochromis mossambicus) all died Equipment failure [14]
snails (Helix pomatia Linnaeus) 20 [15] survived
other, including microorganisms survived


Example of a Zenit landing vehicle.

Research on the recovered animals revealed insights into the impact of spaceflight on cerebral arteries, the spinal cord, inner ear, and genetic processes. Deputy Director of Russia's Institute of Medical and Biological Studies Vladimir Sychev indicated that some of the results may help explain why some astronauts suffer impaired vision during spaceflight: "We used to think that in zero-gravity, fluid travelled upward and that the quality of blood improved, but it turns out that it is the other way around. The arteries of the brain come under duress and their capacity is reduced by 40 percent [sic]." The reduced bloodflow may be key to triggering orthostatic intolerance.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Christy, Robert. "2013 - Launches to Orbit and Beyond". Zarya. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Bion-M No.1 2013-015A". NASA. 13 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b "Biological space vehicle "Bion-M"". Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biomedical Problems. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  4. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  5. ^ Космический аппарат "Бион-М" № 1 успешно выведен на орбиту (in Russian). Roscosmos. 19 April 2013. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  6. ^ NASA: Space Biosciences Division: Bion-M1 Archived 24 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ a b Russia Launches Animals Into Space on One-Month Journey
  8. ^ a b Clark, Stephen. "Russian spacecraft launched with cosmic cache of critters". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  9. ^ Bergin, Chris (19 April 2013). "Soyuz 2-1A launches numerous passengers on BION-M spacecraft". Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  10. ^ Christy, Robert. "Bion M1 - Return to Earth". Zarya. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Space vehicle". Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biomedical Problems. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  12. ^ Pultarova, Tereza (2013). "Crew of Bion M1 Found Dead upon Landing". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  13. ^ BION M1 N2YO.COM Retrieved 2016-06-17
  14. ^ a b c d e Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  15. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Bion (12KSM) satellite". Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  16. ^ Marwaha, Nikita (2013). "In Focus: Why Spaceflight is Becoming Blurrier over Time". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2013.