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MOSCOW, April 19 (Itar-Tass) – The Soyuz 2.1a rocket with the Russian scientific satellite Bion-M has been launched from Baikonur.
The rocket was successfully launched at 14:00 Moscow time from the 31st launching pad, the Roscosmos press service reported.
There are dozens of mice, tritons, snails, microorganisms and plants aboard the spacecraft.
A total of 45 mice, eight gerbils and 15 deckos are sent to space. There are snails and fish and other small animals and microorganisms. Each of the group is isolated from the others, chief Bion research project controller Vladimir Sychov told Itar-Tass.
The main research objects are mice. They for the first time fly in a biological satellite. Their example will show what changes take place on the genetic level during a long mission. For mice, 30 days is a longer period for their life cycle. So, some long-term consequences may be seen, what changes happen on cellular and molecular levels and it may be supposed what can be seen on long manned missions, the scientist said.
The Bion-M will remain in orbit for about a month and then will return to Earth with the scientific results.