Bion Biosatellite Program
For more than 20 years, the Soviet/Russian Bion program, provided U.S. investigators a platform for launching Fundamental Space Biology and biomedical experiments into space. The Bion program, which began in 1966, included a series of missions that flew biological experiments using primates, rodents, insects, cells, and plants on an unmanned biosatellite in near-earth orbit. NASA became involved in the program in 1975 and participated in 9 of the 11 Bion missions. NASA ended its participation in the program with the Bion 11 mission launched in December 1996. The collaboration has resulted in the flight of more than 100 U.S. experiments, one-half of all U.S. Life Sciences flight experiments accomplished with non-human subjects. The NASA Life Sciences Data Archive holds the summaries and results of the U.S. Bion experiments.
Between 1995 and 1998, NASA and the Russian Space Agency collaborated on the NASA/Mir space program, which made use of the Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport crew and payloads to and from the Russian Mir space station. Experiments performed on Mir allowed investigators to observe long-term effects of microgravity. Fundamental Space Biology investigations addressed avian development, plant biology, circadian rhythms, and radiation monitoring.