Mission or Study ID: Biosatellite II
American Biosatellite Program/Scout
The first mission in the Biosatellite series, Biosatellite I, was launched in December 1966. Reentry into the Earth?s atmosphere was not achieved because the retrorocket failed to ignite. The biosatellite was never recovered. Although the scientific objectives of the mission were not accomplished, the Biosatellite I experience provided technical confidence in the program because of excellent performance in most other areas. Improvements were made in hardware, prelaunch tests, and procedures before Biosatellite II was launched on September 7, 1967 from Cape Kennedy. The scientific payload, consisting of 13 select biology and radiation experiments, was exposed to microgravity during 45 hours of Earth-orbital flight. Experimental biology packages on the spacecraft contained a variety of specimens, including insects, frog eggs, microorganisms and plants. The planned three-day mission was recalled early because of the threat of a tropical storm in the recovery area, and because of a communication problem between the spacecraft and the tracking systems. The primary objective of the Biosatellite II mission was to determine if organisms were more, or less, sensitive to ionizing radiation in microgravity than on Earth. To study this question, an artificial source of radiation was supplied to a group of experiments mounted in the forward part of the spacecraft.