Encyclopedia Astronautica
Biosatellite



biosat3.jpg
Biosat 3
Credit: NASA
biosat1.jpg
Biosat 1
Credit: NASA
American biology satellite. 3 launches, 1966.12.14 (Biosatellite 1) to 1969.06.29 (Biosatellite 3). Biosatellite was a NASA spacecraft designed in the early 1960's to study the effects of the space environment on living organisms in missions.

It was equipped with a re-entry capsule to return the test plants and animals to earth after a month in low earth orbit. Management and technical problems resulted in the third satellite taking a monkey into orbit only three weeks before the first American human being set foot on the moon. The mission was terminated after only nine days and the monkey died soon after return to earth. The project became the subject of enormous derision in the press, and three further planned missions were canceled.

Gross mass: 542 kg (1,194 lb).
First Launch: 1966.12.14.
Last Launch: 1969.06.29.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta G American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E More...
  • Delta N American orbital launch vehicle. Long Tank Thor augmented with 3 Castor 2 boosters and Delta E upper stage. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NSSDC System for Information Retrieval and Storage (SIRS),

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

Biosatellite Chronology


1966 December 14 - . 19:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta G. LV Configuration: Thor Delta G 471/D43.
  • Biosatellite 1 - . Payload: Biosat 1. Mass: 425 kg (936 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Class: Biology. Type: Biology satellite. Spacecraft: Biosatellite. Decay Date: 1967-02-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 2631 . COSPAR: 1966-114C. Apogee: 309 km (192 mi). Perigee: 295 km (183 mi). Inclination: 33.5000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Reentry into the Earth's atmosphere was not achieved because the retrorocket failed to ignite. The biosatellite was never recovered. Although the scientific objectives of the mission were not accomplished, the Biosatellite I experience provided technical confidence in the program because of excellent performance in most other areas.

1967 September 7 - . 22:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta G. LV Configuration: Thor Delta G 475/D51.
  • Biosatellite 2 - . Payload: Biosat 2. Mass: 507 kg (1,117 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Class: Biology. Type: Biology satellite. Spacecraft: Biosatellite. Decay Date: 1967-09-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 2935 . COSPAR: 1967-083A. Apogee: 318 km (197 mi). Perigee: 297 km (184 mi). Inclination: 33.5000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. Biological capsule recovered. The scientific payload, consisting of 13 select biology and radiation experiments, was exposed to microgravity during 45 hours of Earth-orbital flight. Experimental biology packages on the spacecraft contained a variety of specimens, including insects, frog eggs, microorganisms and plants. The planned three-day mission was recalled early because of the threat of a tropical storm in the recovery area, and because of a communication problem between the spacecraft and the tracking systems. The primary objective of the Biosatellite II mission was to determine if organisms were more, or less, sensitive to ionizing radiation in microgravity than on Earth. To study this question, an artificial source of radiation was supplied to a group of experiments mounted in the forward part of the spacecraft.

1969 June 29 - . 03:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta N. LV Configuration: Thor Delta N 539/D70.
  • Biosatellite 3 - . Payload: Biosat 3. Mass: 695 kg (1,532 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Class: Biology. Type: Biology satellite. Spacecraft: Biosatellite. Decay Date: 1970-01-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 4000 . COSPAR: 1969-056A. Apogee: 374 km (232 mi). Perigee: 363 km (225 mi). Inclination: 33.5000 deg. Period: 92.00 min. Biological capsule reentered 7/7/69. The intent had been to fly a 6 kg male pig-tailed monkey (Macaca nemestrina) named Bonnie in Earth-orbit for 30 days. However, after only 8.8 days in orbit, the mission was terminated because of the subject's deteriorating health. High development costs were a strong incentive for maximising the scientific return from the mission. Because of this, the scientific goals had become exceedingly ambitious over time, and a great many measurements were conducted on the single research subject flown. Although the mission was highly successful from a technical standpoint, the science results were apparently compromised. Additional Details: here....

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