Mice, lizards, snails part of Russian satellite crew

Moscow, April 19 (IANS) Russia Friday launched a satellite with over 100 living creatures, including mice, lizards, snails as well as strains of bacteria, plants and seeds, as its “crew”, federal space agency Roscosmos said.

The Soyuz-2.1A rocket-carrier, carrying the Bion-M vehicle, was launched at 2 p.m. Moscow time (1000 GMT) from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan, Xinhua reported.

The rocket also placed six small communication satellites made in Germany, the US, and South Korea on a near-earth orbit at an average altitude of 575 km.

The 6,300-kg Bion-M vehicle will return to Earth May 18 after over 70 experiments, Roscosmos said.

Prior to the launch, scientists had to replace a group of male mice after one mouse was killed by its fellows.

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