Encyclopedia Astronautica
Foton



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Foton
Foton satellite in its assembly hall, with its booster and payload shroud. The cylindrical module at the top is a Nauka module.
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Foton
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Foton-M
Credit: TsSKB
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Foton
Credit: TsSKB
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Foton
Credit: TsSKB
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Foton
Credit: TsSKB
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Foton
Credit: © Carsten Wiedemann
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Foton
Credit: © Thomas Ludwig
Russian materials science satellite. 15 launches, 1985.04.16 (Cosmos 1645 / Foton 1) to 2007.09.14 (Foton M-2). Adaptation of recoverable Vostok spacecraft for zero-gravity materials processing tests. 400 W available to operate experiments.

Beginning in 1985 the USSR/CIS conducted annual unmanned space missions dedicated to materials science research. The Foton spacecraft used for these flights was a derivative of the 1960's era Vostok/Voskhod manned spacecraft and the Zenit military reconnaissance satellites and was very similar to the Bion and Resurs-F satellites. Prototype Foton satellites were launched as Cosmos 1645, 1744, and 1841. Since 1988 the spacecraft were officially designated as Foton.

The 6200 kg spacecraft was 6.2 m in length with a maximum diameter of 2.5 m and was divided into three major sections: the service/retro module, the payload capsule, and an equipment block. The 2.3-m diameter recoverable capsule could handle a payload of up to 700 kg and a volume of 4.7 m3. Electrical power was supplied entirely by storage batteries with 400 W average per day allocated to the payload (up to 700 W for 90 minutes each day). Mission durations for the eight Foton flights to the end of 1992 were 13-16 days.

To minimize perturbation forces, thereby maximizing microgravity conditions (as low as 10^-5 g), Foton spacecraft were placed in mildly eccentric orbits at 62.8 degrees inclination and were not maneuvered during the mission.

Prior to 1991 annual Foton missions were always launched in April or May. Launches were performed by the Soyuz booster from Plesetsk, and recoveries were made in Kazakhstan in the primary manned recovery region north-east of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Foton spacecraft had flown with the Zona 1, Zona 4, Zona 4M, Splav 2, and Konstanta 2 electric furnaces as well as the Kashtan electrophoresis unit. The French firm Carra was developing a new interface module for Foton called Spacepack in 1994, which would facilitate the integration of foreign microgravity experiments on Russian spacecraft like Foton.

Gross mass: 6,190 kg (13,640 lb).
Payload: 404 kg (890 lb).
First Launch: 1985.04.16.
Last Launch: 2007.09.14.
Number: 15 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Soyuz Russian orbital launch vehicle. The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millenium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2009. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch. More...
  • Soyuz 11A511U Russian standardised man-rated orbital launch vehicle derived from the original R-7 ICBM of 1957. It has been launched in greater numbers than any orbital launch vehicle in history. Not coincidentally, it has been the most reliable as well. After over 40 years service in Russia, ESA built a new launch pad at Kourou which will keep it in service from three launch sites in three countries well into the mid-21st Century. More...
  • Soyuz 11A511U2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Soyuz 11A511U2 used synthetic kerosene ('Sintin') in first stage for launch of premium reconnaisance satellite and manned payloads requiring just a bit more payload than the standard 11A511 could offer. Further use of the 11A511U2 abandoned in 1996 due to Sintin production stoppage. Later Soyuz spacecraft launched on standard Soyuz, with reduced payload and rendezvous with Mir in lower orbit accepted. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...
  • Kozlov Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Kozlov Central Specialized Design Bureau, Samara, Russia. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Report (Internet Newsletter), Harvard University, Weekly, 1989 to Present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Sorokin, Vladislav, "'Yantarnaya istoriya'", Novosti Kosmonavtiki, 1997, Issue 17, page 57.
  • NASA GSFC Orbital Parameters,
  • Kozlov, D I, Konstruirovanie avtomaticheskikh kosmicheskikh apparatov, Mashnostroenie, Moscow, 1996.
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...
  • Plesetsk Plesetsk was the Soviet Union's northern cosmodrome, used for polar orbit launches of mainly military satellites, and was at one time the busiest launch centre in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union put the main launch site of Baikonur in Kazakh territory. It now seems that once the Proton rocket is retired, Baikonur will be abandoned and Plesetsk will be Russia's primary launch centre. Upgrades to existing launch facilities will allow advanced versions of the Soyuz rocket and the new Angara launch vehicle to be launched from Plesetsk. Plesetsk's major drawback was the lower net payload in geosynchronous orbit from a northern latitude launch site. However Russia is planning to remove the disadvantage by looping geosynchronous satellites around the moon, using lunar gravity to make the necessary orbital plane change. More...
  • Plesetsk LC41/1 R-7 launch complex. Code named 'Lesobaza', this was the first complex completed at Plesetsk, being declared ready for military service with the R-7A ICBM in November 1959. The complex followed the design of the protoype facility built at Area 31 of Baikonur and included its own residential area for military personnel and assembly buildings for launchers and payloads. More...

Foton Chronology


1985 April 16 - . 17:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC41/1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Cosmos 1645 / Foton 1 - . Payload: Foton s/n 1L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 12.16 days. Decay Date: 1985-04-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 15645 . COSPAR: 1985-029A. Apogee: 388 km (241 mi). Perigee: 214 km (132 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Summary: Materials processing tests..

1986 May 21 - . 16:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC41/1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Cosmos 1744 / Foton 2 - . Payload: Foton s/n 2L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 13.19 days. Decay Date: 1986-06-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 16724 . COSPAR: 1986-036A. Apogee: 371 km (230 mi). Perigee: 217 km (134 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Summary: 216 orbits. Materials processing experiments. Continuation of research on materials science in space..

1987 April 24 - . 16:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC41/1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Cosmos 1841 / Foton 3 - . Payload: Foton s/n 3L. Mass: 6,300 kg (13,800 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 13.17 days. Decay Date: 1987-05-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 17907 . COSPAR: 1987-037A. Apogee: 380 km (230 mi). Perigee: 217 km (134 mi). Inclination: 62.9000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Summary: Materials processing tests. Conduct of experiments on the production of semi-conducting materials and super-pure biological preparations in micro-gravity. .

1988 April 14 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC41/1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 4 - . Payload: Foton s/n 4L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 13.62 days. Decay Date: 1988-04-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 19043 . COSPAR: 1988-031A. Apogee: 372 km (231 mi). Perigee: 215 km (133 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Summary: 218 orbits. Materials processing experiments; extremely pure and semiconductor materials. Research in material science in space (production of semiconductor materials with improved properties and very pure biologically active substances).

1989 April 26 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC41/1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 5 - . Payload: Foton s/n 5L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 14.35 days. Decay Date: 1989-05-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 19941 . COSPAR: 1989-032A. Apogee: 377 km (234 mi). Perigee: 220 km (130 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Summary: 234 orbits. Materials processing. Space materials research (production of enhanced performance semiconductors and especially pure biologically active substances in microgravity conditions). Jointly with France..

1990 April 11 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/3. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U2.
  • Foton 6 - . Payload: Foton s/n 6L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 15.17 days. Decay Date: 1990-04-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 20566 . COSPAR: 1990-032A. Apogee: 374 km (232 mi). Perigee: 216 km (134 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. 250 orbits. In addition to Russian materials science experiments, Foton 6 carried out the French Gezon experiment using the Russian Zona-4M electric furnace (Foton spacecraft have also flown the Zona 1, Zona 4, Splav 2, and Konstanta 2 electric furnaces as well as the Kashtan electrophoresis unit). Foton 6, which also carried the European Biopan life sciences experiments, was successfully recovered on the 15th day.

1991 October 4 - . 18:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/4. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 7 - . Payload: Foton s/n 7L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 15.54 days. Decay Date: 1991-10-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 21737 . COSPAR: 1991-070A. Apogee: 394 km (244 mi). Perigee: 214 km (132 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Summary: Materials research; carried German, French experiments. Continuation of space materials research conducted jointly with Germany and France. .

1992 October 8 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/4. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 8 - . Payload: Foton s/n 8L. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 15.60 days. Decay Date: 1992-10-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 22173 . COSPAR: 1992-065A. Apogee: 359 km (223 mi). Perigee: 218 km (135 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: 250 orbits. Microgravity research. Space materials research (conducted jointly with Germany)..

1994 June 14 - . 16:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/3. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 9 - . Payload: Foton s/n 9. Mass: 6,200 kg (13,600 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 17.56 days. Decay Date: 1994-07-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 23122 . COSPAR: 1994-033A. Apogee: 358 km (222 mi). Perigee: 220 km (130 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: Microgravity experiments. Landed July 2..

1995 February 16 - . 17:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/4. Launch Pad: LC43/4?. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 10 - . Payload: Foton s/n 10. Mass: 6,300 kg (13,800 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 14.62 days. Decay Date: 1995-03-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 23497 . COSPAR: 1995-006A. Apogee: 355 km (220 mi). Perigee: 218 km (135 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: 234 orbits. Carried Russian, French, German micro-gravity experiments. Landed in Russia Mar 3.

1997 October 9 - . 17:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/3. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 11 - . Payload: Foton s/n 11. Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Kayser-Threde. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 13.63 days. Decay Date: 1997-10-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 25006 . COSPAR: 1997-060A. Apogee: 363 km (225 mi). Perigee: 218 km (135 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: Microgravity experiments. Landed in Kazakhstan Oct 23..

1999 September 9 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/4. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Foton 12 - . Payload: Foton s/n 12. Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Kozlov. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Duration: 14.64 days. Decay Date: 1999-09-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 25902 . COSPAR: 1999-048A. Apogee: 365 km (226 mi). Perigee: 215 km (133 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: Foton 12 carried European microgravity experiments. The spacecraft's descent module landed on Russian territory at 52.47 deg N 53.83 deg E on September 24, 1999..

2002 October 15 - . 18:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC43/3. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U PVB 066. FAILURE: Contamination in hydrogen peroxide line of fuel pump system led to explosion of Strap-on D 29 seconds after launch. The rocket crashed near the pad, debris from the explosion killing one soldier.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • Foton-M - . Payload: Foton M-1 / Foton 13. Mass: 6,425 kg (14,164 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA; ESA. Manufacturer: Kozlov. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. COSPAR: F021015. Launch delayed from October 9. Foton-M No. 1 (Foton-13) was an improved version of the Foton materials processing satellite. The 6425 kg satellite carried a variety of microgravity experiments including those of the European Space Agency. The satellite was destroyed in the accident.

2005 May 31 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz-U Zh15000-091.
  • Foton M-2 - . Payload: Foton 14. Mass: 6,535 kg (14,407 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Kozlov. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Decay Date: 2005-06-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 28686 . COSPAR: 2005-020A. Apogee: 304 km (188 mi). Perigee: 262 km (162 mi). Inclination: 63.0000 deg. Period: 89.93 min. Microgravity mission with the experiments being returned to earth after 16 days in a spherical Vostok capsule of the type that first carried Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961. The capsule landed in Kazakhstan at 07:36 GMT on 16 June. For this mission a 385 kg European payload of 39 experiments in fluid physics, biology, material science, meteoritics, radiation dosimetry and exobiology was carried. A further 215 kg of Russian instruments were also flown. Many were experiments were being reflown following loss of Foton-M1 on 15 October 2002. The planned Fotino miniature re-entry capsule experiment was not flown.

    Applied research included heat transfer experiments with the European FluidPac facility, chemical diffusion experiments in the SCCO (Soret Coefficients in Crude Oil), and material science investigations in the Agat and Polizon furnaces. These experiments were expected to contribute to new heat-exchanger designs, more efficient oil exploration processes, and better semiconductor alloys. The Biopan facility carried life science experiments, including a student seed germination test.


2007 September 14 - . 11:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz-U 098.
  • Foton M-3 - . Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Kozlov. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Foton. Decay Date: 2007-09-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 32058 . COSPAR: 2007-040A. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi). Perigee: 258 km (160 mi). Inclination: 62.9000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Recoverable spacecraft derived from the Vostok. Carried Russian and European microgravy, life sciences and technology experiments. After deploying the YES-2 tether on 25 September, Foton M-3 was deorbited at 07:23 GMT on 26 September and successfully landed at 07:58 GMT in Kazakhstan.

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