Encyclopedia Astronautica
1977.08.03 - Cosmos 936


Biological research. Scientists from the U.S.S.R., the U.S., Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the German Democratic Republic conducted experiments in physics and biology on the mission. The biosatellite was recovered at 51 deg 53 min N, 61 deg 30 min E, near Kustanay in Central Asia after remaining in orbit for 18.5 days.

A notable feature of the mission was the use of two onboard centrifuges to rotate rat subjects throughout the flight. The artificial gravity environment provided by continuous centrifugation was expected to counteract space flight effects caused by microgravity. Effects caused by other space flight factors, such as the acceleration, noise and vibration stresses of launch and reentry, were not expected to change. The effects of space flight on various biological specimens were investigated during the mission, as during the previous Cosmos mission. An effort was made to differentiate between spaceflight-associated effects on rat subjects that were caused by microgravity as opposed to those that were caused by other stresses. The effects of space flight were studied in bone and muscle, erythrocyte survival and lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. An experiment to examine the effect of space radiation on the retina was also carried out using rat subjects. Another study of space radiation was conducted without using biological material, to determine various physical parameters of the different components of radiation in space. Genetics and the aging process were studied in fruit flies. Thirty male, specific pathogen free rats (Rattus norvegicus) of the Wistar strain were flown onboard. At launch, they weighed 215 grams on average and were about 62 days old. Twenty of these rats experienced microgravity during the entire mission. The remaining ten rats were subjected to continuous centrifugation throughout flight. Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) were used to study development and aging in the space environment. This species was also used to study genetic mutation rate.

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