Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, Russia launched the world’s only returnable satellite called Bion-M1 on 20 April 2013. The satellite is aimed at biological research in space and for interplanetary flights in future. The Bion-1M satellite was separated from the Soyuz carrier rocket and entered an elliptic orbit at 575 kilometers above the Earth. The satellite carries 45 mice, 15 geckos, eight Mongolian gerbils, snails, and containers with various microorganisms and plants.
The satellite will conduct more than 70 physiological, genetic, morphological and molecular-biological experiments during its 30-day flight. Besides, Bion-1M carries a number of Russian and foreign microsatellites which will slowly be separated from the spacecraft in the next two days and carry on their individual missions.
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