Biosatellite program

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Biosatellite 3
ManufacturerGeneral Electric
Country of originUnited States
Design life8-30 days
RegimeLow Earth orbit
First launchBiosatellite 1
14 December 1966
Last launchBiosatellite 3
29 June 1969

NASA launched three satellites named Biosatellite 1, 2 and 3 between 1966 and 1969.

NASA's Biosatellite program was a series of three satellites to assess the effects of spaceflight, especially radiation and weightlessness, on living organisms. Each was designed to reenter and be recovered at the end of its mission.

Its primary goal was to determine the effects of space environment, particularly weightlessness, on life processes at three levels of organization: basic biochemistry of the cell; structure of growth of cells and tissues; and growth and form of entire plants and animals.[1]

Biosatellite 1[edit]

The Biosatellite 1, also known abbreviated as Biosat 1 and as Biosatellite A, was the first unmanned artificial satellite belonging to the U.S. Biosatellite program for biological research. It was launched on December 14, 1966 by a Delta G rocket from Launch Complex 17A of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.[2] The Biosatellite 1 was the first series Biosatellite satellites. It was inserted in an initial orbit of 296 km perigee, 309 km apogee and 33.5 degrees of orbital inclination, with a period 90.5 minutes.

The Biosatellite 1 was carrying several specimens for the study of the effects of the space environment on biological processes. When the capsule was returning to land, it separated from the vehicle properly, but its rocket motor did not work, leaving it stranded in a slowly decaying orbit. It re-entered and disintegrated on February 15, 1967.

Biosatellite 2[edit]

The Biosatellite 2, also known abbreviated as Biosat 2, "Biosatellite II" and as Biosatellite B, was the second unmanned artificial satellite belonging to the U.S. Biosatellite program for biological research. It was launched on September 7, 1967 by a Delta G rocket from Launch Complex 17B of the Air Force at Cape Canaveral station.[3]

The Biosatellite 2 carried thirteen biological experiments involving insects, frog eggs, plants and microorganisms. The capsule returned early due to a tropical storm threat.[4] In spite of returning approximately a day early, its 45 hours of earth-orbital flight enabled valid conclusions to be made in the thirteen experiments on board, when compared to its temperature and radiation matched earthbound control organisms.[5]

Biosatellite 3[edit]

The Biosatellite 3, also known as abbreviated Biosat 3 and as Biosatellite D, was the third unmanned artificial satellite belonging to the U.S. Biosatellite program for biological research.

Despite the seeming failure of the mission's scientific agenda, Biosatellite 3 was influential in shaping the life sciences flight experiment program, pointing to the need for centralised management, realistic goals and substantial pre-flight experiment verification testing. The mission objective was to investigate the effect of space flight on brain states, behavioural performance, cardiovascular status, fluid and electrolyte balance, and metabolic state.[6]


Satellite Rocket Launch date Launch site Decay date COSPAR ID SATCAT
Biosatellite 1 Delta G 14 December 1966 Cape Canaveral LC-17B 15 February 1967 1966-114A 02632
Biosatellite 2 Delta G 7 September 1967 Cape Canaveral LC-17B 4 October 1967 1967-083B 09236
Biosatellite 3 Delta N 29 June 1969 Cape Canaveral LC-17A 7 July 1969 1969-056A 04000


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rosenthal, Alfred. "A record of NASA space missions since 1958". NASA. NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  2. ^ Biosatellite. Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2016-16-05.
  3. ^ Biosat 1, 2, 3 (Bios 1, 2, 3). Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2016-16-05.
  4. ^ Biosatellite 2. Mark Wade, Astronautix. Accessed 14 June 2018.
  5. ^ Bioscience 18(6):pp.535-661, June 1968.
  6. ^ "Mission information: Biosatellite III". NASA. Retrieved 25 May 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

External links[edit]