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Foton microgravity science mission launched
Posted: Tue, May 31, 2005, 1:35 PM ET (1735 GMT)
Soyuz launch of Foton-M2 (ESA) A Russian rocket successfully launched a spacecraft Tuesday carrying experiments, including live animals, designed to study the effects of microgravity. The Soyuz rocket launched the Foton M2 spacecraft at 8:00 am EDT (1200 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, placing the unmanned spacecraft into orbit nine minutes later. The spacecraft will remain in orbit for 16 days, carrying out experiments monitored by scientists on the ground, before a descent module returns to Earth, landing near the Russia-Kazakhstan border. The spacecraft carries 39 experiments on topics ranging from biology to fluid physics to material science. Many of those experiments were flown on a similar spacecraft, Foton M1, which was lost when its Soyuz launcher exploded shortly after liftoff in October 2002.
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